My favorite part of the Mass is the Consecration. I can hardly wait to see Jesus arriving on the Altar and the anticipation of receiving Him stirs my heart. I am human though, and I often get distracted.
I glance over at my daughter who is gazing adoringly at her fiancé. Shouldn’t she be gazing adoringly at Christ? We make our way to the front of the church to receive the Lord and the elderly lady in front of me hugs the altar boy! Shouldn’t she be focusing on Christ? Why am I noticing all these things? Shouldn’t I be focusing on Christ?
I think that there are two sides to these beloved distractions. The first, is that it may be the rush of love that we feel when Jesus comes to us is so great that it flows over onto the ones we love. We may not realize it or be able to identify it, but there it is. On the other hand, maybe we (read I) should focus a little more on Christ and recognize that this rush of love is from Him and about Him. How can we redirect our feelings back to the adoration of Our Lord?
1. Understanding the two parts of the Mass helps us to stay focused. The Mass is made up of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We receive God in His Word and then in the Word made flesh, right before our eyes.
2. Participate fully. I find that when I am engaged in the responses, prayers and listening carefully to the readings and Homily, I am more likely to stay focused on Christ. My mind wanders less and I often hear exactly what is meant for me in that particular Mass.
3. Ask God what He wants you to do. I recently attended a talk by renowned Catholic author and speaker, Matthew Kelly. He challenged us to keep a Mass journal and answer the question, “What is the one thing God wants me to do to become a better-version-of-myself today?” When I am listening with my ears and my heart, I can get more out of the Mass.
4. During times of the Mass when we are sharing peace, we can focus on what that gift of peace means. Too often during this time, we are laughing and chatting, completely forgetting what we are supposed to be doing. During this part of the Mass we are offering and asking for forgiveness for hurting each other. We are extending a gift to one another, the gift of peace that Christ left for us.
5. When the gifts are brought to the altar consider what sins you can leave at the foot of the cross. I tell my kids that instead of talking to each other, they should look at the crucifix and put a gift of love into Jesus’ open arms and lay their sins at His feet to be covered by His precious blood. At most times during the Mass, God is coming to us. During this special moment, we are coming to Him. We are offering ourselves and our gifts to Him, so that He can make them holy. It is not a time to have conversations, but a time to reflect on the goodness of God.
It is hard for me to stay focused when there is an adorable baby in the row in front of me, or one of my children cuddles up against me, but I can remember that all these beloved distractions are just a reflection of the goodness of the Almighty Himself and that He wants my attention too. God bless.