Mike's Picture TheThird Place Project is an invitation to respond to the life-giving love of God. Led by veteran Catholic youth minister Mike Landry, we hope to serve you as together we learn to put ourselves third. Click to read more...

Bored at Mass? Here’s 8 tips for you…

Photo Credit: locates on Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo Credit: lecates on Flickr (Creative Commons)

I once heard of a survey of teenagers which asked them what word they most associated with the Mass.  Now, I may not be a smart man, but it’s a no-brainer which word ranked highest: boring.  Teenagers (and many adults) seem to find the Mass – which, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the “source and summit of all Christian life” – boring.  Jesus left us the Mass, the moment when Heaven kisses earth, as the moment where we re-member Him, where the once-for-all sacrifice of the Cross is brought to this moment, where God Himself speaks to us of His love for us, and then becomes present to us, His Body and Blood disguised under the auspices of bread and wine, for us to receive Him, to be strengthened, to be renewed in His image.

And we find it boring.  We complain about the music, the uncomfortable pews, the homily, the faded color of this banner or that stained glass window, the kids three pews away who won’t stop crying… and some people find every excuse they can to avoid it.  (Why do I understand this so well?  Because for many years in my life, I looked for these same excuses.)

After watching a group of my youth completely distracted at Mass, I put together a list of 8 things you can do to get more out of Mass:Continue Reading

Complacency: It doesn’t get more dangerous than this

Image from http://resignedgamer.blogspot.ca
Photo Credit: http://resignedgamer.blogspot.ca

Complacency: a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation or condition. (From dictionary.com.)

It’s also, in the spiritual life, an incredibly dangerous word – something to be avoided at all costs.  Jesus doesn’t mince words on this:

I know your works: I know that you are neither hot nor cold.  I wish that you were hot or cold.  So because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold,I will spit you out of my mouth.  For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  (Revelation 3:15-17)

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Is it HARD to get to Heaven?

Photo Credit: Erika (Creative Commons)
Photo Credit: Erika Szostak on Flickr  (Creative Commons)

On the night our parish youth group kicked off a semester of youth ministry programming on the Church, our guest speaker took questions from teens.  One of them went like this: You mentioned that it’s hard to get to Heaven.  Do you really mean ‘really hard?”

A better word than ‘hard’ in this case might be ‘impossible.’  It is impossible for any of us on our earn merit to get to Heaven.  This is why Jesus had to come.  The Old Testament tells the story of the people of God who, after being created by God to love broke their relationship with Him (by sinning), and were never able to properly reconcile that relationship.  God tries over and over again, covenant by covenant (think Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David…) but humanity is never able to uphold their end of the bargain.Continue Reading