Too often, we find ourselves distracted at mass. We’re there to punch our clock, so that God knows we were there. But were we, really?
We don’t sing the hymns, we hear but don’t recite the prayers, or (I don’t know if it’s) worse, we recite them, not thinking of what they mean or say. Do you have any clue what Eucharistic prayer the priest used last Sunday? Did you listen to what it said?
Before Vatican II, they used to say, when people went to Mass on Sunday, that they assisted. This implies that we participate when we go to Mass.
To demonstrate how important the words are, there is a deceased cardinal from the Philippines who, when they incardinated him, in the investigation of his life, they found out that he was never properly baptised. They had baptised him in the name of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This meant that he was never confirmed validly, never given first Holy Communion, (not validly), not ordained validly, not ordained bishop and archbishop validly. It also had further ramifications in that, as bishop and archbishop, those he had ordained as priests were not validly ordained. They had to go back and do them all over again, including exhuming some deceased priests. (It also seems that those who were pastored by those invalidly ordained priests were not validly baptised, etc., but I’m sure all this was reconciled.)
At any rate, pay attention at Mass. Know the prayers and what they say. (Did you know that the prayer after the Confiteor, which is called the Collect, you’re allowed to place your particular intention at the feet of Jesus during the prayer?) Know what you’re doing, and know where you are at all times. You should realize, when you enter the church, that you’re in a different place, and to try to leave all your outside cares outside. Come into the Lord’s presence, singing for joy. Take time to thank God before Mass, for the blessings of the week. Don’t chit-chat. Save that for later, after Mass. Try to sing, or at least read the hymn and discern what it’s saying to you. Don’t just stand there when you should be recalling your sins, and asking God’s forgiveness for them. Make a special intention for the Mass, and place it spiritually in the hands of the priest. Listen to the readings, and the homily. Know what we’re doing at the Gloria and the Creed. Give sacrificially. When the gifts are brought to the altar, you can also place a prayer for someone. Listen to the priest’s prayers-they’re different every day/week. Listen to the Eucharistic prayer-they’re very beautiful and ancient. Make yourself ready to receive the Lord, and when you do, realize that you have become a tabernacle. And when the priest sends you forth, ACT LIKE YOU’VE JUST RECEIVED JESUS, at least as you exit the parking lot…
God bless you.