On a hot day, in June, 1959, in Rome, in St. Peter’s Basilica, I attended the Solemn Feast Day Mass of Sts. Peter and Paul, celebrated by the reigning Pontiff, the jovial John XXIII. With a good position, overlooking the altar, I enjoyed the close view of this humble man as he offered up the perfect Sacrifice of Praise. In the splendor and beauty of the world’s largest House of Worship, the Sistine Choir filled the air with heavenly music. No one attending ceremonies of such magnitude ever forgets this experience or remains unaffected by the outpouring of the voices of thousands of worshipers.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see the saintly Pope, slowly genuflecting at the altar, his careful and deliberate motions of reverence, with his eyes raised in a beseeching way to Heaven. At times, his emotion filled voice still comes to my ears as he said the sacred words of consecration … This is My Body … This is the Cup of My Blood …
My spirit of Faith took a giant leap forward on that day, 49 years ago, on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. I rejoiced in my belief in all the actions of worship taking place at that splendid altar of God, right before my eyes. As never before, the gift of Faith handed on to me by my parents, through no merit of my own, took on a new and precious value.
Never again, would I have any doubts about the worth of my work in the Priesthood as I viewed the faith-filled actions of the humble John XXIII. He was first of all a priest of the Lord like myself. If this Faith could produce a man like Pope John, I wanted to possess that faith in God.
Treasure our gift of Belief in God. If God is real, He deserves public worship from His followers, especially, in the Mass where His Son is offered as a Perfect Sacrifice of Praise and Thanks. With enthusiasm and joy, gather with other believers to lift our voice in song. To prepare our mind and heart, come 15 minutes early, sit close to the altar, read the Scriptures of the day and dress in our best or near best.
Belief in God gives the answers to all the big questions in life … Why am I here … Where am I going …Who will help me in needs and weaknesses?