Last Saturday night, as my husband and I drove to church, a thought occurred to me. I am this person now. But in an hour, I will be someone else. That’s how transformational a regular religious practice such as going to Mass (or service, or whatever you call that particular hour in your particular religious sect) can be. It isn’t for everyone. (I’m assuming. Otherwise churches would be a lot more crowded, the way they are on Easter or Christmas.) But maybe it should be.

There are a million reasons to attend Mass: to spend an hour with God, to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist, to be a part of a like-minded community, to regularly nudge or reawaken one’s faith…I suppose the list is as varied as the individuals filling the pews. And even if none of those reasons strikes you as relevant, there’s one that should. Go to church, if for no other reason, than to sacramentally experience life.

There are posters, Pinterest pins and slogans everywhere that say things like, “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room!” Or “Life is either a grand adventure or it is nothing!” People seem fond of these slogans. We like to celebrate life; hence our affection for birthdays. But how do we live this notion on a daily basis?

Going to church regularly is one way to celebrate life. You are there with people who share your faith and, hopefully, your beliefs and morals. The ritual of Mass (or service) is soothing, yet allows for contemplation and new insights. And if you tune in, really tune in, it can be an hour unlike any other in your week: It can be an hour that you really feel, really experience. It can be life-changing.

Maybe we all need to slow down for one hour a week (or more) and not let life just happen to us. Maybe we need to remember that life can be lived intentionally, as it is when one chooses a regular religious practice like going to Mass. Oh sure, it might not be all hearts and flowers. The pastor might say something you disagree with. You might see someone there with whom you have difficulty. But good or bad, the experience can change you if you let it. All you have to do is let it.

One hour a week to transform your life, to change your thinking, to fall in love again with the greatest love you will ever know. It’s worth it.

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