Prayer and worship in Mass ease midterm stress

Father Andrew Dickinson

Father Andrew DickinsonColumnist

It is Homecoming and Hobo Day is almost here. It is near midterm and tests are piling up. Job fairs. Summer internships. As students there are so many ways that you are daily called to give, work, study and strive. I am feeling a little down my effort in Professor Tolle’s Early Political Philosophy Class8212;more accurately my inability to get there for the darn participation grade.

As your Catholic priest, I notice how tired you are this time of year. There are more dark circles around the eyes and a few more pajamas on the way to class. The cool air seems to cause colds or maybe you’re just tired. Students will come to visit me frazzled and frayed8212;I quite often tell them to take a nap. Thirteen years later I still remember how exhausted I was after my first midterm week.

College forces us to grow up in many ways: choices, future plans, friends and responsibility. One area of maturity is to realize our own weakness. We try but our efforts are not good enough. The 4.0 efforts from high school bring a 3.8 at SDSU. Looking beyond homework to our life, our friends and our future we realize that many of our efforts are good but still imperfect and incomplete. In my nine years of college and seminary I made many resolutions about study or homework, only to have them crumble after a few weeks.

There is a fundamental reality in the Christian life that we are damaged and broken by the effects of sin and incapable of mastering ourselves. I often think of Romans 7:19 “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” I know my own frustration and I hear your frustration when you try to do the good but do the evil instead. Where do we turn? Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ makes all things new (Rev. 21:5), Jesus Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), and Jesus Christ is the divine physician, come to heal the sick (Mark 2:17). If you are feeling old, weak, or sick then you’re in luck. In my spirit, I feel old, weak and sick as well.

I love how he meets me in my weakness and imperfection. It is in the prayer at every Mass that I can worship in spirit and in truth. This is why I love being a Catholic. His perfect sacrifice on Calvary is made present again in an non-bloody but real way so that I can join my old, weak and sick life to his perfect gift. As we pray at Mass, you and I can gather all of those imperfect efforts of the week or day that was and ask the Holy Spirit to join them to Christ on the cross. Amen. I believe. If you tire of your imperfections like I tire of mine, come and join the Church throughout the world and throughout the ages at the foot of the Cross. “Oh, that today you would hear his voice.” (Psalm 95:7).

Masses at Pius XII Newman Center, south of Brown Hall, are at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday as well as 5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

Father Andrew Dickinson can be contacted at [email protected].