If the Mass is literally heaven on earth how can ordinary Catholics come to understand this?
Perhaps we should first ask what is the most important part that happens at Mass?
It is the words of Consecration, "This is my body... This is my blood..." Yes transubstantiation happens - when bread and wine become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, what we call the Eucharist, the "Real Presence" of Christ. This is why the CCC 1324 says that The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." - it is Christ Himself.
Also since we all are part of the mystical body (Church) of Christ - "the communion of saints"; we all celebrate the Christ's Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, this includes those in heaven - the Saints and Angels.
So if God is with us at the Mass along with the Saints and Angels where is heaven exactly? Most people have heard the saying, 'heaven is where God is'. They imply God in the spiritual form, like around us or in our hearts.., so is that heaven? This may be true in a spiritual sense, but what's the difference between spiritual sense with heaven and God at the Mass? Yes God is really present, body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. So what does this say about this heaven.
What about heaven on earth? If we look to the Bible, it mentions several times about heaven as the throne, and earth as a footstool. One verse mentions: 'This is what the LORD says: Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?' ~ Isaiah 66:1
At Adoration we come to adore the Eucharist in the monstrance, which is called the throne for God. So heaven is the throne of Christ here on earth, and earth is the footstool. Can we make the connection now? Heaven is present at the Mass because God is present. His is present at the Mass, present in monstrance throne at Adoration, present in resting place in the tabernacle. We don't see heaven because God is veiled. We only have our faith in His Real Presence and of heaven.
Through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, God invites us to celebrate His great glory, in heaven on earth. We believe it! Treat the Mass, the tabernacle, the monstrance, the sanctuary with great reverence, because where God is on earth, heaven is. Literally.
If first apostles receive on hands, why not us?
Bishop Athanasius Schneider is saying we "receive" the Eucharist we do not take it...
National Catholic Register
Finally is the amazing insight of St. Augustine. Recounted by Pope Benedict in his exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, “Augustine imagines the Lord saying to him: ‘I am the food of grown men; grow, and you shall feed upon me; nor shall you change me, like the food of your flesh, into yourself, but you shall be changed into me.’ It is not the Eucharistic food that is changed into us, but rather we who are mysteriously transformed by it” (70).
If we believe that this “mysterious food” (ibid.) has the power to change us—if we believe as St. Augustine and Pope Benedict believe—our manner of eating must signify such belief. Eucharistic food is “not something to be grasped at” but is received with humility and obedience (Phil 2:7-8). Only then will we be, like Christ, “highly exalted” (Phil 2:9).
Even though, as Pope John Paul acknowledges, Communion in the hand can be carried out with reverence and devotion; and even though reception on the tongue is no guaranteed symbol of fidelity and humility; Communion on the tongue is, all things being equal, the most suitable manner of reception.
In certain cultures, including our own, the bride and groom often receive from the hand of the other a piece of wedding cake at the wedding banquet. When done with love and devotion and faithfulness, the small gesture signifies not only the care one pledges to the other, but also the concern a vulnerable spouse can expect from the other. At the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, our humble reception of the fruits of his saving work likewise show our devotion to him, our Spouse, and express our abandonment into his care. (Source)
This is the Prayer that was taught by the Angel of Peace to the three children at Fatima in 1916. How fitting is this prayer for us to pray for those who do not believe in God, and even more so do not believe in the Eucharistic God. For the Eucharist is sole means of Salvation. How thankful are we who believe and receive our Lord. How much reverence is due to Him at Holy Communion.
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You!
I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe,
do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.
Jesus Is On The Floor
Is the First and greatest commandment - Love God equal to the second commandment - love your neighbour as yourself?
Let us find out what the Catholic Church teaches ... Note: The text I highlight are my comments.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
2196 In response to the question about the first of the commandments, Jesus says: "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these. (Source) [Here the CCC states there is two commandments and in no terms says that we are to love God and to love ourselves equally with God. God clearly states we are to love Him with much more devotion.]
These two commands really do sum up everything. For love of neighbor means to will good to another for the other's sake. Love of God cannot be precisely that, for we cannot will good to God. But we do know that Scripture pictures Him as pleased when we obey, displeased when we do not. He cannot gain anything from our obedience, but He is pleased for two reasons: 1) His Holiness loves everything that is morally good: goodness says creatures must obey their Creator, children their Father; 2) In His generosity He wills to give good to us, but that is in vain if we are not open to receive. (Source) [Loving our neighbour is NOT the same as loving God. Our neighbour loving us is the same thing. We are commanded to love neighbour and God.]
“Whatsoever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did it for Me.” [Many people do good to others, however it is not the same as doing good to others for God. Even then do we not need to adore, worship and love God directly? Why have two commandments?]
1 John 4:19-21
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. [By loving God we must "ALSO" love our neighbours. It is NOT the same as love as for God.]
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple." [This verse says it all: God comes first. (We are always second compared to God.)]
Matthew 10: 35-38
For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. [God first!]
There are two thing that can be observed 1) We must love God and we must love one another as ourselves. These two commandments are inseparable. 2) There is the first (the greatest) and second commandments; it is NOT 'this' and 'this' commandment. We do not love man equally as we love God, everything has it's place even in love.
Let's make this case: However much we love God in others, we must love God much more than others, much more than ourselves. What about the Eucharistic God? All our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength.
Al: Catholic, learning and thankful.