"On no other occasion as on moments after we receive him in Holy Communion is it truer that he is living with us. He is fully there as God and Man. And he tells us to live in Him!"

With the sincere intention of helping not only Christians in general but also those of the Catholic faith to understand the significance of the Mass, Father John MacMahon explores that ancient, intricate ritual in great detail. Since some Catholics tend to think that faith and good deeds are sufficient without the regular celebration of the Mass, the author stresses that Jesus often spoke of feeding and food as symbols of spiritual life, participated in meals with his devotees, and famously fed the five thousand. Catholics should regard the Eucharist as a holy feast in which Christ shares his body and blood with his fortunate followers. MacMahon begins with simple terminology, follows the Mass from the first words spoken by the Celebrant (priest) to the final “dismissal,” and then he looks more in depth at the esoteric theology behind the ritual. MacMahon advises the reader to prepare in advance for the Mass, stay until the end, and afterwards, enjoy silent concentration on God.

Concerned for people of his own faith and others, a priest presents the complex elements of the Mass in a way that is both erudite and accessible. The Mass is an extensive examination of a sacred rite celebrated all over the world every day. MacMahon’s writing shows the intelligence and diligence of a retired priest with fifty-plus years in the ministry. He spotlights particular elements of Catholicism—crossing oneself, remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice through the Eucharist, and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer—pointing out their universal significance to all Christians. But he especially exhorts his fellow Catholics to honor the Mass: attend as often as possible, take communion, and contemplate the unique blessing it offers “in uniting us with Christ.” MacMahon has organized his broad range of material well and includes an appendix of reference materials.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home