First Post, First Friday
January 7, 2022
Well, here goes. I have never blogged before, but I have often thought about it. As I pray, as I encounter the Word, or attend mass, there are things that stand out to me. Well, honestly, these are times that Jesus is speaking to me! I am more and more convinced every day that He is so very present and active in my life.
Today is what is called a “First Friday” in the Catholic Church. So, what better day to start my blog? Jesus asked the faithful to “receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months.” Probably not even 2 generations ago, this was a very common practice. Many of our parents and/or grandparents grew up attending mass on every First Friday. A “First Friday” is the first Friday of each month. Just in case you didn’t figure that out…. Anyway, the practice is not as common now. Mostly because when people stop going and stop participating they stop passing on the tradition and practice to their kids.
I don’t even recall when I first heard of “First Fridays.” I started doing “First Saturdays” in 2017 when I really learned about Our Lady of Fatima and her request that people complete that devotion. Anyway, I digress. Back to Fridays…. The short version is this: Go to Mass, go to confession if you are not in a state of grace, receive communion, and have the intention of honoring Christ’s Sacred Heart. By doing so, Jesus will grant extra graces at the time of death, making it possible to repent of sins and receive the last rites. To read more about this, click here: https://aleteia.org/2016/04/29/5-things-catholics-should-know-about-first-fridays/
That all sounds well and good, but one of the arguments many people make against the Catholic Church is that we have these weird rituals and “Oh, really? You just go to mass and Jesus grants you 12 wishes?” What I want you to take away is this… Regardless of your faith in the promises of our Lord, Jesus Christ, attending mass and receiving the Sacraments is SO POWERFUL! Everyone has to start where they are in their faith journey. If it is your first time to mass, start there! But, go! Mass is so beautiful and powerful.
Over the last decade or so, I have started attending daily mass more frequently (in addition to Sunday masses, of course). It doesn’t matter what is going on in my day, the Liturgy of the Word (aka the Scripture readings) speak to me. I make it a point to read the Scriptures in advance of mass, even if it is 2 minutes before it begins. I will be sitting in the pew, freshly detached from whatever I was doing, and then focusing my mind on the text. And, BAM, Jesus speaks to me. A theme resonates from the Old Testament or the Psalm or the Epistles or the Gospel. Something just smacks me in the face. It might soothe an anxiety, bolster my spirit, or cut me to the core. It is always something.
Today, I was contemplating writing this first blog post, knowing it was a First Friday, and the readings were about faith and belief in Jesus. In the First Letter of St John it says, “Whoever possesses the Son has life.” I immediately equated this to my opportunity to soon receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. I love Holy Eucharist. I love to know that the Lord lives within us in this very tangible way. From Psalm 147 I was reminded, “Glorify the LORD!” As I am on this path to run my own venture, I must remind myself that my mission is to glorify the Lord! All success that I may achieve through this venture is for His glory! This venture will not be successful unless He wills it, and I fully trust that He will guide me through it.
And, then the Gospel. There is always a connection between the 1st Reading (generally from the Old Testament, though today it was an Epistle from the New Testament) and the Gospel. The Gospel today was about healing of a leper. The leper falls down in homage in front of Jesus and says, “if you will it, I can be made clean.” The leper had great faith and knew that God can do anything. AND, that Jesus is God. Therefore, Jesus simply says, “I do will it.”
All of these readings call us to trust Jesus, to believe in Jesus, and to know that he has a plan and a purpose for us. I pray and hope that I am fulfilling His purpose in my life by taking on this new venture. But, I know that if I take the time to pray and listen to Jesus, attend mass and the Sacraments, he will continue to lead and guide me on my journey.