Yesterday I decided to see what was going on over at Broken Alabasterwhere my fellow blogger Mary writes. One of the fine blogposts I found there is republished below. Eucharist is a Greek word that means thanksgiving. Today’s picture was taken on the Appalachian Trail in Grayson Highlands Park in Virginia. I am thankful to live only a few hours from this very spot. I love that tree, in every season. Thanks also goes to Mary for allowing me to share her words with the readers of this blog.
[T]he body of Christ gives life to those who receive it. Its presence in mortal men expels death and drives away corruption because it contains within itself in his entirety the Word who totally abolishes corruption.
- Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Egypt, AD 412
Here’s some practical tips for attending Mass well
1) Pre-read and meditate over the day’s Scripture reading. This can be done any day of the week. If you have a long drive to Mass it can be done on the way. It can also be done in the pew just before Mass begins. Pre-reading the Gospel helps prepare our mind and makes the message of Christ reach our heart more readily during the Mass.
2) Dress-up: Wear nice clothes to Mass. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or too fancy but it ought to be your “Sunday’s Best.” Purchase two outfits that you wear only on Sunday, even if it is something simple. Beside being a sign of reverence toward the King of Kings, this really helps us to get in the mood for the holy event that we are attending. It also helps extend the blessing of going to Mass, in a way, by putting our mind on the Mass earlier than if we just go straight to Church from the store in blue jeans, a t-shirt, and flip flops, for example (BTW, no matter what – never wear flip-flops to Mass!)
3) Be Early: arrive 15 minutes early, sit or kneel, quiet your mind of the days activities and prepare your heart for the grace that’s coming.
4) Don’t worry about everyone else and what they are doing: This is a big temptation of mine. The more I realize the awesome gift of Christ’s Love we have in the Eucharist the more I tend to notice the flip-flops, those passing the tabernacle without genuflecting, and low-cut tops… I have to tell myself that this is not my concern. These our God’s children and this is HIS house. I have to keep my loving gaze on him. To help me with this, I remind myself of my own faults and failures, I ask God for his forgiveness, and I try to increase my gratitude for God’s mercy on me. God wants to make our heart soft, supple, compliant, and able to respond to his loving kindness. We can’t do that if we are too distracted by the faults of others. I suppose it’s the whole get the log out of your own eye kind of thing.
5) Sing! Remember to sing at Mass. Sing from you heart and pray the words. If it’s a difficult song, try singing just the chorus. If it’s a terrible song, just pray the best you can. If all the songs are terrible – try a different Mass!
6)During the offering, be mindful that you are offering yourselves to God. The Supper of the Lord is a mutual self-giving between you and Christ. Christ offers himself to us and we accept that love and offer ourselves to Him.
7) Give Thanks: Just after the consecration, bow your head and say “Thank you Jesus.” This simple prayer can do miracles. It helps us to recognize the sacrifice that Jesus has given us on the cross and enables the soul to receive His redeeming grace.
8) Walk reverently toward the Eucharist: Fold your hands, keep your eyes fixed on the tabernacle, the crucifix, or bow your head slightly. Walk slowly before and after receiving Christ.
9) Don’t chew [like a cow]! Think of Christ in the Eucharist as an invited guest that has come to unite his body to yours. Remember, this is an intimate moment. Let the Eucharist dissolve or break it gently in your mouth.
10) Give Thanks Again: After Mass take time to thank God for the whole Mass and all the people present. Pray for the priests and for all the people who just attended Mass with you. Pray for the holiness and fidelity of all. Pray that the Love of Christ in the Eucharist is able to extend into the world through his renewed saints.