The following was written by a very dear friend of mine who also corresponds with a group of people, many of whom are students, on all matters Catholic. Often he reposts marvelous, uplifting, educational stories written by others. His work is always beautifully researched and documented.
And just as often, he pens his own thoughts, as he did in this missive (the title is mine). When I first read this, I felt it should be published by a pastor somewhere in a church bulletin. I have permission to post this.
IS GOING TO MASS A ROUTINE OR A HOLY ENCOUNTER?
Many people get into a rut when they come to Mass… it’s more of a routine than a Holy encounter.
This Lent, try something new. For example…
~ Get up ten minutes earlier… okay fifteen minutes. Get to church early… and leave the socialization until after the Mass.
~ When you enter the church, dip your finger into the Holy water… then move up to the center of the aisle so you can see the entire church. Look at the Crucifix, or the Tabernacle… take a deep breath. Empty your mind of the material world… and of today’s plans and worries. Remind yourself that you are now entering into the realm of the Spiritual… into the “Eternal Now”… God’s world of Angels and Heavenly Saints. Relax…
~ Find a quiet pew… approach it and once again pause before you enter. Gaze at
Christ upon the Crucifix… you are closer now and you can see His face more clearly. Greet Him… give silent thanks that you are privileged to join Him in praising His Father. Genuflect or bow… showing your humility before the Almighty.
~ Do not start chatting with those around you. Drop to your knees and open your dialog with Christ. Don’t rattle off a quick rote prayer. Put your heart into your prayer… you are now into a conversation with your Savior… tell Him you are honored to be with Him… to join Him in His Holy Sacrifice… to witness His Love and obedience of God the Father Almighty… the God of Abraham… Isaac… Jacob… Moses… David… and John the Baptist. You are indeed privileged to be included.
~ Now pray… no, not for your wishes… pray for the needs of those who are suffering… spiritually or physically. Pray, as requested by Our Lady at Fatima, for sinners… great and small. Pray for our celebrant… and all who have donned the Consecrated Life.
And importantly, tell Christ how much you dearly love the Most Holy Trinity. Thank them for being in your life this past week… and affording you the opportunity to serve others.
~ At the proper times during the Holy Mass… “Lord have Mercy” and “Lamb of God”… pour your heart out… beg Christ for mercy on the souls of His faithful Children… and even more mercy for the people who are simply not trying.
~ Understand the Readings before you come to Mass and how are they related to one another… and to you and your family. Listen to the Readings… don’t read along.
~ Be open to the Homily. Get one, perhaps two, points to ponder this upcoming week. How can you live what you have heard?
~ At the Sanctus… Holy, Holy, Holy… become aware of the mysterious Holy Spirit’s presence. Through His remarkable power the gifts of bread and wine shall become the actual Body and Blood of our Lord. We are back in the “Eternal Now”… back among the early disciples at The Last Supper… Jesus is speaking to you… to your heart and soul. Look about you… His Blessed Mother is there… all the Apostles. Then look up, all the Angels and Saints are in deep adoration. They are with you to… “Do this in memory of Me”.
(photo: National Catholic Register / Vatican Media)
~ At Communion… approach the Host knowing Christ is there waiting for you. Welcoming you. Loving to share Himself with you. To give you the strength to go forward to share and serve others in the Glory of His Father. “In Him… With Him… and Through Him”. Let those commanding words sink in.
I cannot help but smile as I approach and see the Sacred Host… for that is my LORD. I feel He too, is smiling and welcoming me back.
Look lovingly as the host is nested within your palm. Take it gently into your mouth and very soul. Then make a slow and deliberate Sign of the Cross… As the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are One, they too, are welcoming you to join with Jesus the Christ.
Return to your seat and realize that you and Jesus are one… you within Him and He in you. This is the absolute closest you can get to Our Lord on this earth. He is with you now… it is an excellent opportunity to ask for His mercy. Plead for a particular soul waiting in Purgatory. Or perhaps the return of a wandering relative or friend, to come home to the Church… or for some specific intension.
~ And always give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for the opportunity to participate with Christ in honoring Our Father at this Holy Mass. Many in this world are not so privileged.
The highlight of your day… and perhaps week… has now come to its conclusion.
As one who believes in the True Presence of the Holy Eucharist, that final blessing is special for you. It is bestowing graces upon you to go and share your faith with others… and to bolster your defenses against the Evil One.
Perhaps you will feel extra peace and joy as you slowly exit the church knowing that all the Angels and Saints are doing the same. It is a special time… a special feeling.
Peace be with you.