St. John Vianney: Don’t Leave God Behind at Mass….. September 8, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Eucharist, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Liturgy, priests, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
……….but carry all that Grace home with you, and bring it into your life every day. Don’t treat Mass as something to be escaped from, bolting for the door the second it ends and hoping to find some secular, worldly topic to discuss as soon as you are outside. Or even before that. I had to assist at Novus Ordo Masses for the first time in almost 3 years this past weekend, and aye yay yay, people behave with more decorum in a movie theater. There was virtually no focus on the Lord (of course, His Eucharistic Presence was absent from the sanctuary in both parishes I attended), no silent, reflective preparation, just gab gab and the blaring tones of the over-eager 10 piece band and Ms. Music Minister making a spectacle of herself again up front. Not that I’m harshly critical or anything.
From The Sermons of the Cure’ of Ars, pp. 196-7:
On her return to her kingdom, the Queen of Sheba could never weary of relating all that she had seen in the temple of Solomon; she talked of it unceasingly, with fresh pleasure. The same thing should happen to the Christian who has assisted properly at holy Mass. When he comes back to his house, he ought to have a talk with his children and his servants and ask them what they have retained of it and what touched them the most. Alas! Dear God, what am I going to say?
How many fathers and mothers, masters and mistresses, are there who, if someone wanted to talk with them about what they had heard at Mass, would laugh at all that and say that they were tired of it, that hey knew enough about it…..Although generally speaking it seems that people still listen to the holy word of God, the moment they come out of church, they fall into all sorts of careless and frivolous ways. They get up with a sudden rush. They hurry. They jostle at the door. Often the priest has not even come down from the altar when they are already outside the door, and there they give themselves up to discussions upon all sorts of secular subjects.
Do you know what the result of this kind of thing is, my dear brethren? This is it. People derive no profit and gain no benefit from what they have heard and seen in the house of God. What graces have been lost! What means of salvation trodden underfoot! What a misfortune that is, to turn to our loss what should have helped so much to save us! You can see for yourselves how many of these services are a burden to the majority of Christians! For those few moments, they stay in the church as if it were some kind of prison. and as soon as they are out, you will hear them shouting at the door, like prisoners who have been given liberty. Are we not quite frequently obliged to close the door on the church in order not to be deafened by their continual noise? [Ahem. This is even something of a problem at the local Fraternity parish, at least on Sunday]
Dear God, are these really Christians, who ought to leave Your holy temple with minds filled only with all kinds of good thoughts and desires? Should not they be seeking to engrave those in their memory, that they may never lose them and that they may put them into practice as soon as the opportunity presents itself? Alas! The number of those who assist at the services with attention and who try to profit from them is a little like the number of the elect; how small it is!
Closely related, via the same book, is the following exhortation on properly preparing oneself for Mass:
If you desire that the worship that you give to God to be pleasing to Him and valuable for the salvation of your soul, put it properly into practice. Begin by preparing for Holy Mass as soon as your are awake, uniting yourself to all the Masses which are being said at that moment. When the bell rings to call you to the house of God, consider the fact that ti is Jesus Christ Himself calling to you. Start out immediately, so that you will have a moment to meditate upon the tremendous act at which you are about to assist. Do not say, like those people who have no religion, that you have plenty of time, that you will be there soon enough. But say, rather, with the holy prophet: “I rejoice when I am told that we are going into the House of the Lord.”
When you come out from your home, think about what you are going to do, and what you are going to ask God. Begin by clearing your mind of earthly matters so that you will be thinking of God only. Avoid all sorts of unnecessary conversations which serve no purpose than to make you hear Mass badly. When you enter the Church, recall to yourself what the holy patriarch Job said: “How awesome is this place! How holy it is! It is truly the house of God and the gateway to Heaven!”
When you get to your place, humble yourself profoundly as you think of your own unworthiness and the greatness of your God, Who, nevertheless, in spite of your sins, wishes to suffer you in His holy presence. Make an act of faith with all your heart. Ask God to give you the grace to lose none of the m any favors which He grants to those who come here with good dispositions. Open your heart so that the word of God may enter it, take root in it, and bear fruit there for eternal life. Before leaving the Church, do not fail to thank God for the graces He has just given you and go straight home, fully occupied with the thoughts of what you have seen and heard. [I don’t know if one must go “straight home,” so long as one keeps in their heart what they gained during the Mass. There is definitely something to be said for community, for brotherhood and fellowship. But I’m gratified to know that a great Saint has recommended something that fits in so well with my native predispositions…….heh]
Yes, my dear children, if we conducted ourselves in this manner we should never come away from the services of the Church without being filled with a fresh desire for Heaven and a new disgust for ourselves and the things of this earth. Our hearts and our minds would be given over altogether to God and not at all to the world. Then the house of God would truly be for us the gateway of Heaven. That is what I desire for you.
I think the key is, make Mass about God, keep the focus on Him and give Him the respect, reverence, and attention He is due. Perhaps that is to say, when it comes to Mass, the before, during, and after, keep it in the supernatural, not the natural.