Habits and routines form and shape our experiences and our lives. These habits will help you make going to Mass more than a habit. Going to Mass is the ultimate form of prayer and should be a spiritual encounter with Christ.
I invite you to reconsider your Mass routines in order to more fully understand and appreciate the gift of the Mass. These practical tips will help us recognize Jesus at Mass, give God the sacrifice of our praise, and become what we receive in the Eucharist for our lives and for the life of the world.
St. John Vianney once said, “If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy.”
Say it out loud to God and to your family. “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). Make Mass the first thing on your schedule by having a plan before the weekend starts. If you will be out of town, look up the closest Catholic Church make the plan or don’t leave.
Read the Scripture readings ahead of time. There are many apps and daily devotionals you could use. Getting familiar with and studying the Scriptures ahead of time prepares our hearts to be rich soil for the Word to grow in us.
Something always comes up that can set you back a few minutes. Plan on being in the pew to slow down, settle, and open your heart to the work Jesus wants to do in you within that Mass. When you choose to arrive late or leave early, you are saying something else is more important.
We dress up for things that are important to us. This little act of preparation is a witness to others that I’m preparing for something that matters to me. Once one of my nieces looked up at her dad and said “Church.” His shirt had a collar on it and she knew he must be going to Mass.
Enter fully into the celebration. You can respond confidently, sing boldly, listen attentively, return from distractions gently and immediately, remain until the final song is over, lead by example for your family and your parish. Here is a simple guide to help you understand what is happening at Mass.
Take time after Mass to offer a prayer of thanksgiving. Make an effort to meet people on the way out. Many life long friendship began by saying hello in Church.
“Do you leave Mass with a mission? There are people who desperately need what you have! Before you exit that pew before your genuflection is complete, and before you deactivate the car alarm in the parish parking lot, have a goal, a purpose, and a plan. Who are you going to invite next week? Who are you going to reach out to at work or school? What do you need to work on personally, and how do you plan to unleash the powder keg of grace within your soul in the coming hours and days? The question is not whether you have been empowered at Mass but whether you comprehend the power that exists within you—and what you plan to do about it.” – Mark Hart, Behold the Mystery
Look around the world. There is racism, hatred, violence. People seem to be moving farther apart from one another and digging in their heels. We need Jesus. We need the Mass. We need to come together as one body in Christ.
This post originally appeared in the Weekly Bulletin of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.
“May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands…” I used to gloss over this moment in the Mass, until a young priest told something that blew me away.
These small, beautiful Mass prayers (the Collect, the Prayer over the Offerings, & Prayer after Communion), deserve attention in their own right.
Have you ever wondered if you should really sing at Mass? The beautiful choir, the glorious music…and then your high-pitched voice that can’t carry a tune
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