Not too long ago, if we were going to be out of town, we would not necessarily figure out church locations and Mass schedules, especially not in a completely new town. However, this year with a better understanding/consideration of missing Mass on Sundays as a mortal sin and with the realization that I choose to have daily Mass as a part of my core, I noticed a shift in myself as I was preparing for a recent family trip.
Since we don't have SmartPhones or data plans, we can't use our cell phones to navigate on our trips, so Mapquest as our guide it was. In addition to a packet that I printed off to get from hotel to hotel for the different stops along the way, I also found the closest Catholic church to each hotel and noted the Mass times. The closest church was less than a mile away (0.4 mile) and the furthest was only 3.4 miles away.
I didn't really think I would make it to daily Mass every day during the week but wanted to have the information just in case. However, it worked out that we attended Sunday Mass together as a family (Father's Day), I went to daily Mass on Monday with my toddler while everyone else was sleeping, and the rest of the week I went to daily Mass on my own. It ended up that the early start times allowed me to slip out of the hotel while everyone else was still sleeping and then come back in time to get started with our day.
Just as I was pleasantly surprised that daily Mass fit perfectly into my work schedule without it being much of a struggle, I found it continued to fit well while on vacation without impacting what our family's plans would have been otherwise. Yet, it makes all the difference in how I feel about the start of my day - a sense of peace and inspiration for my day to day life.
The week pointed toward something bigger for me. It was one thing to realize that I wanted to have daily Mass as a part of my regular routine at home. Making the effort while on vacation, requiring me to step out of my comfort zone - both with driving solo in unknown cities and going to new church communities - helped me to realize just how important daily Mass has become for me. It is now a place holder in my schedule that I prioritize around. Dentist appointment scheduled that conflicts? Call to reschedule. Hard to go to daily Mass during summer days when my 2 year old is not in day care? Go anyway.
I don't think I can fully pinpoint yet all of the reasons why starting out with an intention to make an effort to go to daily Mass at least 2-3 times a week ended up in me quickly choosing I wanted to go every day and to problem solve challenges to doing so. I can point toward some reasons (the power of the Eucharist, quiet reflection and prayer, the guidance and inspiration of daily readings and homilies); however, I think there are additional deeper underlying reasons pulling me toward Mass that I will continue to realize over time.