Getting the Most out of Mass

by Thomas A. Stobie, S.F.O.


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Read and pause often to think on what is mentioned and how it applies to your enjoyment of Mass.

Meditation on Getting the Most out of Mass

As one who thoroughly enjoys the Mass, I thought I would share my secrets of how to enjoy the Mass. These are, in fact, not secrets but are found in the teachings of the Church. In order to get the most out of Mass, we must actively participate, love God and each other, prepare ahead of time, and truly thank God for the Mass afterwards. I will address each of these in turn.

  • Active Participation - A wise man once said "You can only get out of something what you put into it." This is true about the Mass. In the Mass, the peoples' role is to pray the Mass. Praying the Mass consists of listening with an open heart, actively responding, joining in the spoken or sang prayer with the community, praying from the heart all the prayers whether they are sang, said by the people, or spoken by the priest (or deacon) on behalf on the people, and receiving with an open humble loving heart the precious Eucharist.

    • Listening - While it is important to listen during the entire Mass, it is particularly important during the readings, the gospel, and the homily. During this time, God can and will give us assistance with the problems we face and guidance of how we should lead our lives. This does not mean that every reading, gospel, and homily will specifically apply to our individual problems of the day. God can, if we let Him, speak to us with a word, a phrase, an emphasis, a misinterpretation, a smile, a child running down the main aisle, and in everything else that occurs during and outside the Mass. We can only hear Goid speaking to us by having an open heart and not forcing our desires on God. (I have a separate meditation on Listening to God.)

    • Active Responding - Actively responding and joining in the spoken and sang prayers join us together as a loving community in praising God, in thanking Him for all He has done, and in asking Him for His assistance. This helps us to be united in loving God and each other.

    • Praying from the Heart - Praying from the Heart is vital to enjoying Mass. If we pray what we do not mean, we are hypocrites like the Pharisees in Jesus' day. It is better not to pray a given prayer than to lie to our God. We most unite all that we are into our prayers and deeply mean what we pray.

    • Embracing the Eucharist - We need to totally embrace the Eucharist, Jesus Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity when we receive it and let it transform us into images of Christ. Give yourself totally to Jesus in the Eucharist, letting all that you are be given completely to God, and letting Jesus live in you fully.

    Give one hundred percent and receive manyfold. We must place ourselves fully in the mass, mind, body, and soul, and actively participate.

  • Love - As God is Love, we are closest to God when we love. Mass is a special opportunity to love God and with God to love each other. Consider the Mass as a special time you set aside each week to share your love with your most intimate friend. During this time, you put love for your friend first and foremost. With God, as He is infinite, resides in each and every person, and loves everyone perfectly, we also share our love for God by loving each other and ourselves. We should be forgiving of all annoyances that happen in the Mass and in life. The more we love, the more we can enjoy the Mass. The best gift we can give God is our love as unconditionally and as fully as we can give it.

  • Preparation - An athlete who wants to excel in an event, prepares prior to the event. Likewise, anyone who wants to get the most out of Mass, needs to prepare prior to Mass. This preparation can consists of cleansing our souls from those things that separate us from God (through the Sacrament of Reconciliation), forgiving those who have hurt us, understanding the mass better, calming our minds from the hurries and problems of life, focusing our thoughts towards God, and asking God to help us to enjoy the Mass. Preparation takes time and effort but it is well worth it. The better the preparation is, the more enjoyable the Mass is.

  • Thank God - The more thankful we are for the gifts God give us, the more we enjoy those gifts. The Mass is one of God's greatest gift to us and it is most proper that we spend time after Mass thanking God for the gift we have just received.

I challenge everyone to try what I have discussed above, even if you get a lot out of Mass now. Be persistant and these things will become easier and easier to do, and will be better and better done. I assure you that you efforts will be beneficial and that your Masses will be more rewarding and fulfilling.

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Prayer for the Grace to get the Most of our Mass







O Generous & Loving God,

We ask You to grant us special graces to enable us to get the most out of Mass, to inspire us to put a solid effort in preparing and participating fully in the Mass, and to be filled with the Spirit of Love.

We, likewise, ask you to bless those around us with these graces that they too may get the most out of Mass.

We ask you to bless and inspire the priests, the deacons, lectors, and the musicians in their service, that through their service in the mass, that we may be moved as You desire us to be moved.

We thank You for the Mass, the scriptures, and the Eucharist, that allow us to become closer to You and more like You.

We thank You for all things that we have, the people around us, and the abilities You have granted us.

Amen.

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Meditation by Thomas A. Stobie, SFO 2003-2006. Permission granted to copy for personal use.


Useful Sources on the Mass

  1. Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 15 August 1997, The Holy See, Vatican City. It is also available online from the USCCB.
  2. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament, Instruction - Redemptionis Sacramentum, 25 Mar 2004, Vatican City.
  3. Hahn, Scott, The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth, 1999, Doubleday.
  4. Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter "Ecclesia de Eucharistia", 17 Apr 2003, Vatican City.

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Last Modified 5 Nov 2008.