The highest form of praise that we
can give to Almighty God on earth is the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the
Mass! In Holy Mass God the Father is glorified, by the offering of the
Sacrifice of His only-begotten Son and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
This adoration of God is most clearly
manifested in the part of the Mass that is called the DOXOLOGY. After consecration the priest lifts up the
chalice in which is present the Precious Blood and the paten on which rests the
Body of the Lord Jesus Christ and these words are said or sung by the priest
“Through Him, with Him
and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is yours
Almighty Father, forever and ever. AMEN!!!
In this short article we would like
to exhort all of us to get to know the Mass better, participate more fully and
love the Mass with greater intensity in our hearts.
We will offer tens suggestions on
what we should avoid so as to
make Mass more engaging. Then we will offer ten suggestions as to what we can
do so as to derive the maximum of grace that Holy Mass offers us.
Sacramental theology teaches us the
concept of the dispositive grace. Put plainly this means we receive abundance
of graces in direct proportion to the openness of our heart and the disposition
of our soul. If graces are few, the
fault is never in the Sacrament—it is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity
of Jesus Christ. Rather, the limitation
of grace is in the anemic or mediocre reception of the Sacrament. Indeed one
Holy Communion properly received can bring us immeasurable graces that will be
the most powerful of motivations to help us to get to heaven.
Jesus promised this: “I am
the Bread of life, whoever eats my Body and drinks my Blood will have
everlasting life and I will raise him up on the last day.”(Jn. 6—Bread of
Therefore, let us first list
attitudes, gestures and actions that should be avoided so as to augment the
graces in our soul for Holy Mass and then we will end on the positive note
giving a list of actions and attitudes to carry out.
Blessed Mother Teresa in her convents
in the sacristies has a placket for the priest to read and meditate as he
prepares for Holy Mass---
“Priest, man of God,
say this Mass as if it were your first Mass; priest, man of God, say this Mass
as if it were your last Mass; priest, man of God, say this Mass as if it were
your only Mass.” May we all follow this advice!
LIST OF THINGS TO BE SERIOULSY
MISSING MASS ON SUNDAYS. It is a sad
fact that only about 20-25% of Catholics in USA attend Mass regularly on
Sunday. That means that close to 75% regularly miss Mass. The biggest religious
group in USA actually are non-practicing Catholics. Why not be a missionary and
bring the wandering sheep back to the fold!
COMING LATE. All too frequently in
many Masses people saunter in late. This is bad manners. It disturbs the people
who are trying to participate with attention; it disturbs the priest and it
diminishes the graces. Coming late, it is hard to concentrate in the rest of
the Mass. Most arrive early for a concert, school graduation, and sports event.
But how easy it is to short-change God and come late—almost as if we were
giving God the crumbs form the table of our lives!
Some bring gum in their mouths, almost as if they were cows. There is a
time and place for everything. Gum is fine in the baseball diamond, but not in
Mass. This is bad manners!
CELL- PHONE. Most disturbing today is
the reality of people bringing their cell-phones into Church during Holy Mass.
Then they go off and ring, disturbing the whole Mass. Best remedy? Leave your
cell-phone in your car. Nobody is more important than God. You can live an hour
without your cell-phone. But you cannot exist even a second without God
IMMODESTY. A Bishop in Mexico
recently warned the women that Mass is not a fashion show. It is not Hollywood
stars! Immodesty offends God, distracts the men and is a source of scandal
towards children who have a right to the good example of the adults. Women
should be attractive but modest. Never forget our body is the temple of the
Holy Spirit and tabernacle of the Blessed Sacrament after receiving Holy
Communion. Dress accordingly. We must always call to mind our dignity and our
TALKING IN CHURCH. This should be avoided. Why? Jesus said that
the temple is a House of prayer. If everybody is talking to each other than God
is being ignored and put to the side. Also, those who want to pray in silence
are disturbed, frustrated and angered by chatter-boxes in the Church. Socialize
after Mass and outside the Church.
KNEELING BENCHES GENTLE TOUCH! When
you lower down the kneeling benches do it gently. Otherwise the clatter could
wake up the dead from the nearby cemetery. This is courteous towards the
NO BENCH WARMERS! Vatican II, the document on the Liturgy,
Sacrosanctum Concilium gives us advice on how to comport ourselves in Mass. We
should participate actively, fully, and consciously. Of course the fullest way
we can participate is by receiving Jesus in Holy Communion with a burning
faith, love and devotion. Leave the bench-warmers to the baseball park next
LEAVING EARLY. The other extreme of arriving late are those who
rush out of the Church, before Mass is even over, as if their pants were on
fire. Stay until the Mass is concluded, that is to say until the final hymn is
finished. Better yet, stay after a few minutes to thank the Lord for the gift
of the Eucharist. “Eucharist” means thanksgiving!
10. AVOID FIGHTING IN THE
CAR. Right after Mass sometimes the
devil gets in and causes tension and fights among family members in the car as
they return. It should be the contrary. If we have received the Sacrament of
the Lord’s love then we should be loving, kind and patient with each other.
Jesus’ Last Commandment was: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
LIST OF WHAT TO DO TO LIVE OUT MASS
READINGS. Read the Sunday readings and meditate upon
them before coming to Mass so that you can get into the mood for Mass even
before it starts. Why not buy the Magnificat(Mass booklet), that has the daily
and Sunday readings and meditate upon them the night before!
EARLY BEFORE MASS TO PRAY. Come ten to fifteen minutes before Mass
starts to pray and dispose your soul to listen to the Word of God, pray with
all your heart and receive Jesus worthily in Holy Communion.
INTENTIONS. The priest—officiator, the President of the
Assembly, will have his intention in the Sunday Mass. This does not exclude
that fact that you can have your own intentions. You can add hundreds of
intentions, but I would suggest three: 1) Souls in Purgatory that desperately
need our prayers to attain the glory of Heaven; 2) Conversion of sinners,
especially family members; 3) Your own conversion of heart. We might even call
it a spiritual heart-transplant!
PRAY WITH ALL YOUR HEART! The Mass is not a monologue; rather, it is a
dialogue between the priest—who represents Jesus—and the people of God. Nothing
more ugly than a Mass with nobody participating. This happens often in funeral
Masses. The people attending seem to be more dead that the body of the dead
about to be buried! Live the Mass—participate fully!
LISTEN TO THE WORD. Every Sunday Mass there are three Readings,
as well as the Responsorial Psalm. When the Word is being read God is speaking
to us. When the Gospel is being read Jesus is actually speaking to us.
Listen! The Word of God is a lantern for
our path and a light for our minds.
RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION. Make sure you are in
the state of grace, of course! Then approach begging Mary for her Immaculate
Heart to receive Jesus with ever greater love. Every Communion we receive we
should receive with greater love than the prior Holy Communion.
REVERENCE IN RECEPTION. Hands should
be folded. Before reception there should be a reverential bow to receive the
King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. When the Communion is offered respond in a
clear and resounding voice: AMEN!!! This
word means you believe. It is an act of faith!
THANKSGIVING AFTER MASS. Spend time
after Mass to talk to Jesus from your heart. Take the movie “Marcelino, Pan y
vino” as your example. Talk to the Lord from your heart and tell Him everything
that is going on in your life. He desires to enter into deep conversation with
you. These moments after Holy Communion when Jesus is in your heart are the
most precious and important in your life.
DAILY MASS. In the Our Father, Jesus says: “Give us this day our daily Bread…” An
interpretation of this phrase could be the daily Bread of the most Holy
Eucharist. The greatest action we can do
on earth is to receive Jesus worthily in Holy Communion. Nothing can come close
to this most sublime of actions. In the Diary of Saint Faustina she notes that
even the angels in heaven experience a holy jealousy for us because they have
never nor ever will they be able to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.
10.IMITATE MARY. Our Lady
received Jesus into her heart in the Annunciation when she said: “Behold
I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.”
Then she brought Jesus to others. After we receive Jesus in Holy Communion—in
imitation of Mary—we should bring Jesus to others and others to Jesus!