Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Favorite Picture Books: The Weight of a Mass

The Weight of a Mass: A Tale of Faith by Josephine Nobisso, illustrated by Katalin Szegedi

This is a book for Catholics, all Catholics, not just Catholic children.

I love the illustrations. Ms. Szegedi is Hungarian and her style lends an Old World flair to the illustrations of a grand Cathedral and flowing gowns.

In the midst of preparations for the marriage of the King, a widow begs a bit of stale bread of a baker in exchange for her prayers at Mass. The baker refuses in an effort to convince his son of the worthlessness of piety. He cruelly jokes at the little value of a Mass. Writing "one Mass" on a strip of tissue paper, he tosses it on the scale to see how much bread it would be worth. Miraculously and enjoyably, the pile of pastries, cakes, loaves, rolls and delicacies grows tremendously, never outweighing the Mass.

Awed by the miracle, crowds surge through the streets for the Holy Mass and the wedding, including the baker and his son (who may now have more freedom to pursue his greatest love, his faith).

My favorite part of the whole book is the end. The widow takes only a slice of bread when the baker offers her anything she'd like. She was too ashamed to take more. "You see, my friend--like you--I, too, do not know the weight of a Mass."

I think it likely very few of us understand the true value of the Mass, but reading books like this one can help a great love for the Eucharist grow in our hearts. This is a perfect book to read with children preparing for their First Communion, as a First Communion gift, as a gift for godchildren, or even as a beautiful gift for an adult being received into the Catholic church. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

1 comment:

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