Question: I have a friend who says she doesn’t need to attend Mass because she prays to God every day. What are your thoughts on this justification?
Answer: If the only reason for going to church were to talk to God, your friend might be right. Prayer is not something limited to a
physical place or even a holy place. If the sole purpose of the Church were prayer, it would be a narrow purpose indeed. The Church is a
community of believers, formed by “one Lord, one faith, one Baptism.” It is an outward sign of our faith in God instituted by Christ, and the purpose of the Church is to give us grace, that is, a share in God’s life. Coming to Mass is not really for God’s sake, but for ours. If we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist, then we will want to be in his presence. We will want to be fed by him. Our daily prayer and good works are strengthened by our authentic encounter with our Lord. For Catholics, it is at Mass that we celebrate the source and summit of our faith. If this is true, why would we ever stay away?