Last Sunday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ and last week’s column concluded with Christ’s death on the cross and how His death gained and merited the treasures of grace needed to be saved. This Sunday’s column turns its attention on how we should pray the Mass.
As we have said so far, the Mass is the single most effective source of grace that we have on earth. However, our dispositions in assisting at Mass, in hearing Mass, profoundly affect the measure of grace we receive, and no two people receive the same measure of grace from the Mass, which they either attend or participate in or have offered for their intentions. How, then, are we to pray the Mass in order to maximize the graces that Christ wants to confer on us through the Mass?
First way: Understand the Mass. Whatever else the Mass is a vocal prayer. Every word of the Mass is vocalized. Most of the words are spoken out loud. During the Mass itself we cannot engage in a protracted meditation on the meaning of the Mass while assisting at Mass. Outside of Mass, it would behoove each of us to meditate on the Mass. Read about the Mass. Ask our Lord to enlighten each of us to more deeply and clearly understand what the Mass really is. Because then when we assist at Mass, the more deeply and clearly our minds understand the meaning of the Mass. The more grace we obtain from every Mass that we participate in or, indeed, the more grace we obtain from the tens of thousands of Masses that are being offered every day throughout the world. Overemphasis of the importance of understanding the Mass cannot be stressed enough as long as the sources you read or the persons you listen to are authentically and unqualifyingly Catholic.
It is estimated that in the United States since the close of the second Vatican Council, Mass attendance in the United States has dropped by 75%. Only one comment a person can make is to exclaim, “My God!”
The second way of obtaining more grace from the sacrifice of the Mass is the manner in which we participate. This may surprise some but it is recommended to plan and prepare ourselves for each and every Mass. If the Mass is, as we believe it is, the important action that faith tells us it really is, we should plan and prepare for it. It is common knowledge and the fruit of experience that we plan and prepare for things according to how important we think they are. The more importance we attach to something, the more carefully we plan for that experience.
To be continued...