Friday, March 19, 2010

Get More Out Of Mass

Q - Mass can be boring. How can I go to Mass and get more out of it?

A - Thanks for your question. First off, I will tell you that your question is very common. Many people go to Mass with the expectation that they are supposed to "get" a lot out of it. Yet, many of the same people don't put much into it. So, it is very dependent on what kind of changes you are willing to make in your efforts before, during and after Mass.

Let me give you eight pointers that have helped me in the past:

1 - Properly prepare for Mass.
  • *Read and study the readings before you go to Mass, and then listen to them (don't read along) while The Word is proclaimed. You can find the Sunday readings here.
  • *Study the Church's teachings. The more you know about Christ and His Church, the more there is to love. - You can't love what you don't know.
  • *Go to Confession regularly. This will help prepare you spiritually.
  • *Pray daily. This too will help your spiritual prep.
  • *Dress appropriately. You are going to meet the King of Kings. Don't dress the same as you would for a lunch date or class. Make it special.
  • *Get there early and sit up front. Less distractions and more time for prayer before Mass.
  • *Once inside, don't talk or people-watch...pray.

2 - Make sure your attitude is adjusted properly
  • *Don't expect to be entertained. It isn't as much about what God is doing for you, but what you are doing to worship God.
  • *Look for God in every part of the Mass.
  • *Don't allow mistakes to distract you.
  • *Find one nugget in the preaching to take home with you.

3 - Participate
  • *Sing. Sing loud, even if your voice is bad.
  • *Respond and pray with gusto. Give it all to God and don't worry about others.
  • *Remember that this isn't about being social.
  • *Offer your pain, sufferings, joys and prayers to God.

4 -Listen to the Word and be open to it changing you
  • *Are you open to letting God change you? If not, then you won’t be changed.
  • *Listen to the Word proclaimed - DON’T read along.
  • *Find something in the Homily and apply it for the week.

5 - Know, understand, and proclaim your Faith 
  • *Don’t just recite the Creed - proclaim it like you mean it.

6 - Tithe
  • *I can’t stress enough the importance here.
  • *If every Catholic tithed...think what we could accomplish in spreading the Gospel.
  • *Yes, it is our duty to support the Church. But, it does more for our faith than it does for the Church.
  • *Most people "tip" not "tithe" - so be a tither, not a tipper.

7 - When you receive Jesus in the Eucharist - understand what it is you are doing
  • *You are taking the Body, blood, soul, and divinity of GOD into you
  • *You are joining in heaven on earth
  • *You are becoming one with The Body of Christ
  • *Be reverent
  • *Realize that He is in everyone else that received Him as well.

8 - Tell other people about Him
  • *You are now empowered to evangelize - which is what the Church exists for

"If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy." - Saint Jean Vianney


Gert said...

One needs to realize that we don't go to Mass to get something out of it, we go to worship God and give him praise.

That said, God is never outdone. Once, while attending Mass at St. Mary's, I knelt after communion to say my customary after communion prayers. After finishing, I remained kneeling with my eyes closed and mind quiet. Some time later, I opened my eyes just to see if communion was over. For just a moment, it seemed as if I glimpsed heaven. The line for communion still ran back to beyond the back of the church. Somehow, it seemed to me as this is what heaven must be like: an endless procession of the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Did I go to Mass that weekend to "get something out of it"? No. Did I? Yes. More than I even expected.

Gretchen said...

Why do you feel you must LISTEN to the readings and not read along? I have so much concentration trouble that if I don't read along, my mind is outta there.