“Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, there’s always laughter and good…” coffee? (original quote is a poem by Hilaire Belloc)
My husband and I were on vacation recently, visiting a small town on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. We grabbed a Tim Hortons and sat on a bench, enjoying our wares. After a couple of minutes, he turned to me and said, “You know, Tim Hortons reminds me a lot of the Catholic Church. No matter where I go, I know I can find a Tims and I know exactly how it will taste every time.” Putting aside very strong opinions about the quality of Tim Hortons’ coffee, I thought my husband had a great point!
Universality (catholicity). No matter where I go in the country, I know exactly what to expect when I go through a Tim Hortons’ drive through. It doesn’t matter whether I am ordering in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia or Drummondville, Quebec, my double-double and chocolate glazed donut will be the same.
The same can be said for going to a Catholic Mass. While the building, language, and certain aspects of parish life may be different, we all know what is being said when the priest takes the host and raises it above his head. “This is my body, given up for you.” The words of Jesus hold the same weight, the same reverence, no matter what language is being spoken. There is a comfort for being able to follow along without understanding a word of Polish, French, or Icelandic.
Another thing that Tim Hortons does very well is consistency. I’ve been to many different types of Christian services at various churches, and have quite enjoyed my time at some, and not at others. Some have had great music, excellent hospitality, or outstanding preaching. And while those are all wonderful features to find in any church, I have always found comfort in knowing that whatever Catholic church I visit, I know that regardless of music, hospitality, or preaching, the fact that Jesus is giving himself fully to me at Mass never changes. No matter what, Jesus always delivers.
I don’t mean to be irreverent in comparing our Church to a fast-food franchise. Obviously, there are many more differences than similarities. We could have been drinking a Tim Hortons’ coffee on any bench in Canada and it would have been the same coffee and the same comfort. Similarly, while Josh and I were on vacation and attended a Catholic Mass away from our regular parish, we had a sense of being “home” even though we knew no one. The comfort of the words, the rhythm of the Mass, and knowing that Jesus is there in the Eucharist – how beautiful!
By Mallory Brisson