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“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

If you’ve ever been to a Catholic Mass, those words sound all too familiar.  They are the words the priest or deacon says to dismiss the congregation right before the closing song.  If you’re anything like me, you never pause to really think about those words.  I often go through the motions at Mass.  I sing in Liturgical Choir and have been a cantor for a long time, so I am usually more focused on what song comes next, rather than what is going on during Mass.  These words have a lot of meaning behind them.  They are a challenge to the congregation.  In fact, this challenge has many parts to it.  Breaking this challenge down will make it easier to see what we are called to do as we leave Mass.

Go in peace…

Seems simple enough, right? After giving it some thought, it may not be as easy as you would think.  In my experience, it is often hard to have peace of mind, even coming out of church.  Sometimes, I come to church thinking about all the schoolwork I still have to do the upcoming week (or even at 11:00 p.m. after Mass) and I can’t seem to shake it as I come out of Mass.  It is on my mind during all of Mass so much so that I can’t pay attention to what is going on right in front of me.  How can I go in peace if I didn’t even come in peace?  That’s where faith comes in.  I know that if I call on Jesus to give me peace of mind, he will help me have peace of mind as I leave church and go on with my night.  If we all take a few minutes in our crazy lives to ask Jesus to give us peace of mind, he will provide for us.

To love and serve the Lord.

Love.  That is my favorite word in the English dictionary.  I believe that love is what makes the world go ‘round.  I also believe that God’s love for us is greater than we could ever imagine.  At the end of Mass, we are challenged to love God and to serve Him and others.  When we serve others, we are serving God as well; Matthew 25:40 says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  We can serve God in many ways, big or small.  This can be done by donating money to relief efforts helping Syrian Refugees, or we can simply be there for a friend who’s going through a rough time.  Whether it’s donating money or donating time, we are serving God and His people.

In order for us to worship fully, we need to accept the challenge and “go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”  If the only thing we do to worship is go through the motions at Mass, we are not really worshiping fully.  I often neglect the idea of worship.  It’s so easy to forget how important worship is.  But worship can be more than just going to Mass.  By accepting the challenge, we can worship fully in our daily lives.  What better time to worship God than Advent?  God sent His only Son to save us.  The least we can do is show our appreciation by loving Jesus and serving God and His people.  Make it a goal of yours this Advent to remember to worship fully by living out the challenge to “go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

devonDevon James is a sophomore Theology and Public Relations major with a minor in writing at Xavier!  She is usually seen working at the front desk in the CFJ as a student worker.  When she isn’t working or in class, you can see her singing in AcaBellas, Liturgical Choir, or Women’s Chorus!  Check out her own personal blog here.