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Great advice in a sermon today July 24, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Glory, Interior Life, Liturgy, North Deanery, priests, Tradition, Virtue.
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I heard a really good sermon at Mass today. It was an honest to goodness sermon, not a homily, which I was very gratified to hear.  The priest, Fr. Jack Hopka, talked about several topics related to the Gospel (Mt 12:46-50), in which Jesus famously says that his mother and brother are those who does the Will of God.  The priest also gave a nice exegesis on the life of St. Charbel Makhlouf, whom I had never heard of before.  But the aspect that impressed me the most was when the priest stated that we, the laity,  needed to arrive at Mass well before Mass begins – that doing the Will of God meant knowing the Faith, and that assisting at Mass was one of the best ways to come to know the Faith, but that we would have great difficulty fruitfully assisting at Mass if we show up just as Mass starts (or later) and leave immediately afterwards.

We need time to prepare for Mass. I always try to arrive at least 30 minutes before Mass because I have  many prayers and devotions I try to do.  It is very important to have a number of intentions for Mass.  At the Mass, Christ literally comes into our presence and He wants very much for us to present our offerings to Him – including our needs – during the Mass.  If we run in just as Mass starts and still all wrapped up in the cares of the world, the traffic we were stuck in, the guy who cut us off, etc., we’re going to have a hard time participating in a prayerful, solemn manner in the Mass.  Obviously, we all have lives to live and things happen to delay us, but we should strive always to arrive at Mass at least 15-20 minutes early so that we can have a time to compose ourselves, recollect on our intentions for the Mass, and get ready to receive our Blessed Lord.  We may also want to examine our consciences, if we haven’t done so in a while, to insure we are really in a state to receive our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

I have found, over the last several years, that arriving at Mass early makes all the difference in terms of how well I then assist at the Mass.  When I am delayed by circumstances and arrive at Mass without the normal preparation time, I definitely notice the difference in my ability to focus on praying the Mass with the priest and with my general state of soul.  The Mass is an inestimable gift, it is Heaven literally lowering down to earth and Jesus Christ coming Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity into our presence.  We get to receive the Creator of the universe into our very bodies!  What a Gift!  Isn’t it worthwhile to strive to arrive a little early and prepare ourselves for the greatest Miracle in the history of the universe?!?

It is also beneficial to remain after Mass to say many prayers of thanksgiving and to meditate on the Mass, the Scripture readings, and all the immense benefits we have just received.  I strive to stay after Mass for at least 15 minutes or so, and often quite a bit longer if I have the time.

One thought that occurred to me today is how…..disfigured……..our approach to the Mass can be at times.  I don’t mean this as a harsh criticism, but as a bit of a reminder, but even priests can fall into this trap sometimes.  I, for one, do not mind if Mass runs long – typically.  I really feel that we should look on assisting at Mass as the highest point of our day, even the focal point of our day, so that we bend our schedules around it, rather than the other way around.  The Mass is, after all, the Source and Summit of our Faith!

I am running long.  A friend reminded me last night how long-winded I am, forgive me.  Pray for me!

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