Filling the emptiness: everything I need

By Madeline Alvarez, Staff Writer

"It's everything you ever want/It's everything you ever need/And it's here right in front of you/This is where you wanna be."

Every time I hear these words from the musical, “The Greatest Showman,” I reflect on what I can personally apply them to. For when I think about what the song is implying, it sounds a little silly: “This circus show is everything you could ever want and need.”

Hmm, really? I didn't realize that everything necessary to live life well on earth and gain eternal life could be received through watching a circus performance. Okay, sarcasm aside, I really do love this movie; but those few lines from the song “The Greatest Show” always help me to see that things of this world are not what they promise. What is it that I really want and need in this life? As a Catholic, my answer is the sacrifice of the Mass.

I grew up attending Mass regularly. My family not only went to Sunday Mass together but to weekday Mass as well. As a college student, I now have a deeper appreciation for this beautiful liturgy and have come to believe that the Mass is the closest one can be to Jesus while on earth. From Sept. 2017 to Feb. 2018, I lived with an order of nuns. Following their schedule, I went to Mass every day. Sometimes there were opportunities to attend even twice in one day. From the six months spent with this community, my understanding of and appreciation for Mass grew and this experience has left a deep impact on me. I find that I am different when I attend Mass outside of the required Sunday obligation. When I don’t attend during the week, I feel like something is missing. To be honest, the day feels a little pointless, especially if I knew I could have gone and I chose not to. It’s not a guilty feeling; rather, it’s more of an empty feeling because it was a missed opportunity to be closer to someone I love. Think about how you feel when you miss the chance to meet a friend or someone you’re close to in your family. You may see them another time, but the opportunity for that day, nonetheless, is gone. This is the feeling I have when choosing something instead of the Mass. The Mass fills us because, in it, we encounter Christ. He is God, the Maker of everything, and He alone can fill the empty place in our hearts. For this reason, I believe the Mass is something we should be longing for- something we’re trying to get to with all of our effort.

One thing I have noticed when attending daily Mass on campus is the minimal number of students and faculty who come. It is sad to me and a little hard to grasp why, for being a Catholic college, daily Mass at Newman averages only around 10-15 people. Mass is celebrated Monday-Friday at 12:05 p.m. in St. John’s Chapel, lasting for about 30 minutes. It ends around 12:35 p.m., which still allows time to get lunch and get to our 1 p.m. classes. I realize that there may be extracurricular activities during this time, or that it might be hard to just take time out of your day. Trust me, it’s hard for me some days, too. Sometimes I'm too tired to go to daily Mass. Other times I'm too hungry or I need to finish assignments. Although we can’t always make it to daily Mass due to everyday life, I believe that the effort we make to attend when we can will always be blessed.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year was the only one that freshmen were required to attend. Maybe that Mass was the first Mass you had been to in a long time, or maybe it was the first Mass you’ve ever participated in. Whatever the case, if there was something in it that caught your attention and left you with the desire to return, I urge you to follow that voice within your heart, for that is the Holy Spirit’s voice. All are welcome, and He is waiting to give you, “everything you ever want and need.”