August 30th

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Eucharist is to be the “source and summit” of our Christian lives.  (cf. CCC 1324)  Do we believe that statement?  Do we live our lives as if the Eucharist were the most important thing in the whole world?  How often do we allow our minds to wander at Mass?

Mass should not be a chore or a burden.  Mass should be a most intimate encounter between ourselves and the Almighty God, Who is truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist.  It is important that we remind ourselves often what it is that we are doing at Mass as well as why: otherwise we may fall into unthinkingly acting out of habit.

The danger with anything that we do routinely is that it may become devoid of its meaning; as human beings we can easily fall into the habit of doing things by route.  At Mass, our purpose is to worship Almighty God.  We come to Mass to return thanks and praise to the Father, through the Son, in and with the Holy Spirit.  The Mass is the most profound and the most pleasing prayer that we can possibly offer to the Father, for it is the re-presentation of the gift that the Son made of Himself to the Father upon the Cross.

In order to help us in our efforts to be focused on what we do at Mass, I am going to offer a series of reflections on the liturgy.  As a Protestant convert, I personally found the liturgy fascinating when I entered the Church.  We didn’t have liturgy in the Baptist church, in which I grew up.  Baptists are decidedly anti-liturgy.  They don’t like route prayers.  They believe that one should only pray from the heart.  They might think differently if they realized how many of the prayers used at Mass are actually Scriptural, but more on that later.

The first point that comes to mind when thinking about the liturgy is the importance of preparation.  Father Acervo, in his recent bulletin articles, has been writing about the preparation prayers that priests say as they put on their vestments.  These prescribed prayers are aimed at helping the priest to prepare himself, interiorly, to celebrate the sacred liturgy with attention and devotion.

Preparation is not only important for the priest, however: every single one of us should take time to prepare our hearts and minds, in order that we may more attentively participate at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  If we prepare our hearts ahead of time, we will not be as easily distracted during the Mass.  If we rush into Mass at the last minute, with the last song that we heard on the radio in our heads and a list of things to do right after Mass running through our minds, we will likely find it difficult to focus on what is happening at Mass.  It is important to take at least some time (it doesn’t necessarily have to be a lot of time) to quiet ourselves and call to mind the reason that we have come to Church: to adore Our Lord and Our God.

God bless,

Father White

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