When I was much younger, even before my teenage years, I remember having a very serious problem with Church.
Then, I was still attending catechism classes for my First Holy Communion. When we reached the 10 Commandments and the Precepts of the Church, I couldn’t help but wonder why going to Church was necessary.
In my little head, this was the full argument:
“God exists. He is everywhere. We pray to Him every day without needing to be in Church. So, why do we keep coming back here every single Sunday? More importantly, why do we have to do this until the day we literally die? Is there no graduation date?”
Okay, maybe I didn’t use “more importantly” before age 10, but you get the point. I needed answers. I’m not sure why, but it felt like my life – all one decade of it — depended on the answer.
Thankfully, my mother and catechism teacher didn’t give the “because God said so” response. Although, I’ve come to realize that doing things just because God said so is a really good way to go through life.
My little brain, however, didn’t know about trust, faith, and confidence yet, so it was important to explain things simply to me — and I’m grateful they did.
From my conversations about Church back then, I learned a few things I still use today during evangelism.
How to Talk to a Child (and Some Adults) About Attending Church
God is our Father and Creator. He created everything in the world, including the air you breathe, the water you drink, and your mother and father who brought you into this world.
This same God has been in your life since before you were born, and all He has ever done for you are good things. Even when you act in a way that displeases Him, he still takes care of you.
God always protects you from the evil one and blesses your family. All He wants is for you to be His friend. That way, He can show you more, bless you more, and work with you to accomplish more things.
To help you learn more about Him so you can make the choice to become His friend, He told some of His friends and family to build a special house for Him where you can visit Him whenever you like and be sure to find Him there.
Now, your house may be noisy. Your family may not get along all the time. School and work may be stressful, but you can be sure that God is always waiting for you whenever you take the time to visit Him in Church.
There, you learn about God. The priest talks about Him. And during the Eucharist, you receive Him wholly into your body so that He can work in you from the very inside and give you a new and eternal life.
When you eat His body and drink his blood, you have a new life, and He will raise you up on the last day to live forever, even if your body dies before that last day.
Now, what kind of friend would you be if you never went to visit God? How can you say you want to be His friend and do all these things with Him if you keep avoiding His house, His other friends, His word, and the body and blood of His Son, Jesus Christ?
More importantly, why would you hold back public and communal worship if you call Jesus Christ your Lord, Master, Saviour, and Creator? Are you ashamed of Him? What if He were to turn His back on you and be ashamed of you too — denying you before God the Father and the Angels; would you like that? Or have you not read the Bible to learn all these?
God doesn’t force us to do anything. He has given us free will, and we can do with it whatever we want. When He commands us to do anything, He loves us and knows that our lives will be better if we choose to obey Him.
So, obey God.
We go to Church firstly because God, by just being God, is worthy of worship; secondly, because He commands us to worship Him in that way; and thirdly, because we love Him and want to work on our relationship with Him.
It is a grave sin to avoid going to Mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation. Whether pre-recorded or live, YouTube videos and “online services” are unsuitable as replacements for physically attending Mass.
And no, the virus is not a good enough excuse either. People went to Mass in worse pandemics. People went to Mass even during wars and plagues. You can go to Mass every Sunday.
Obey the Lord and trust in Him.