Sunday Mass is the foundation of our lives as Christians. But too often, we see it as an obligation rather than an intimate experience with the Lord.
The Source and Summit
We often think of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the sacrament of mercy, which it is. But the power of that sacrament actually flows from the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of the Christian life.
And something that many of us are not conscious of, or aware of, is that at the Mass Jesus is making present the greatest act of love the world has ever known. He’s making present His life-giving death and resurrection. And it’s as if we are standing on Calvary and receiving that mercy. It’s as though, at that moment when the bread and the wine are lifted up and become the Body and Blood of Christ, His open heart is pouring forth this ocean of mercy.
So to experience that in a deeper way, I think it’s a question of how we pray the Mass, and can we bring our minds and hearts more fully into that celebration. Rather than allowing ourselves to be distracted during those key moments in the Mass.
Heaven Kisses Earth
Scott Hahn has this wonderful book, The Lamb’s Supper, and he says that heaven is breaking into our reality right now during those moments of the Mass. We’re made for union with God, and that is ultimately attained when we reach the Kingdom of Heaven. But even now we get a taste of that, because Jesus unites Himself to us – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity – every time we receive Him in Holy Communion.
So that union that will take place in heaven is beginning to take place, even here on earth.
But What if We Get Distracted?
Sometimes the Lord is speaking to us in our distractions. But I think what’s important in prayer is that when we become aware that our mind is wandering, to try to bring what we’ve been distracted about into our prayer. Maybe the Lord is inspiring you to pray for a particular person.
Sometimes we come to Mass burdened by a situation or concerned for another person. And that will consume our thoughts during the Mass. And whenever we’re aware of that, bring that to that moment of the Mass where Jesus is making present His life-giving death and resurrection. Ask the Lord, with the power of His love and mercy, to touch those situations and those people.
Often we try to empty our minds and get rid of all distractions. But sometimes it’s better to look at those distractions as things we need to bring to the Lord when we’re celebrating Mass.
Some people, the way they keep their focus at Mass (and especially during the homily) is they will bring a little notebook and write down those nuggets they want to carry around for the rest of the week. Someone might think that’s disrespectful to bring a notebook to Mass, but I don’t think so. I think it’s a good practice, because it helps us focus on the words that the Lord is trying to say to us through the Scripture readings and through the homily.
Listen to the full conversation below:
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