a blog I often visit. It set me to thinking about my own Mass experiences.
My husband and I go almost every day. I doubt if we miss Mass more than a dozen weekdays every year. I don't say that to boast; it is more a necessity to preserve me from being one more casualty of Satan's wiles. Daily Communion is as necessary to me as eating. I once read that perhaps those born into the Catholic church are given that grace because they are the ones most likely to be lost without the graces that come through Holy Mother Church. Knowing the potential for evil in myself, I believe it.
I am truly blessed because I can't say I ever find Mass "very long and tiresome" either on Sunday or during the week. I hope that shows that I love God. And I know do...but very badly I'm afraid. When I pray the Act of Love in the morning I can't bring myself to say, "I love you with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength" because I feel like I'm lying. And so instead, I pray, "Please help me to love you with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength." And I trust He will.
I repent that I love my Lord and God so little. I can't count the number of Masses where I'm thinking about what I'm going to make for breakfast or whether we'll go out to a local cafe after Mass or what's on the daily agenda or why so and so over in the second pew stands through most of the Eucharistic prayer instead of kneeling, etc. ad nauseum. I say "ad nauseum" but I hope I don't nauseate my Savior who is there on the altar inviting me to join in the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary making reparation for the sins, including my own, that nailed Him to the cross. My body is here, Lord. Please make my intellect and will present to you as well.
And yet, there I am after Communion with Christ within me closer than any friend or even my "one flesh" spouse can ever be, and what am I doing? Watching people going to Communion: reflecting on the reverence of the men who kneel to receive, noting the immodest clothing, lamenting all the people who receive in the hand. I'm especially distracted by the children: the little boy with no shoes who makes me smile, the babes in arms sleeping on a parent's shoulder, the little girl in her Sunday finery playing with the lace on her dress.
How can I pay attention to all this while the Lord of universe resides within me waiting patiently for me to be attentive to Him, like Mary Magdalene who chose the better part. And yet I often choose the worldly part and let the King sit by Himself. My consolation is to know how much God loves me and how patient He is with my shortcomings like I am with my two-year-old grandchildren. Some distractions are no doubt invitations to pray for those who come to mind and I generally do, but many distractions are my own fault easily eliminated by just closing my eyes. And what a blessing that would be for my own soul and for those for whom I could be praying.
And so I have a new resolution for 2016. To come back to the pew after Communion and close my eyes until the priest says, "Let us pray." What an opportunity to imitate Francisco and Jacinta of Fatima who longed to receive the "hidden Jesus," but hadn't made First Communion. How much they longed to console Him for the sins of men and to save poor sinners. How many sinners go to hell, the Blessed Mother told them, because they have no one to pray for them. What better time to offer reparation for the conversion of poor sinners than after Communion when the hidden Jesus resides right below my own heart for a precious few minutes.
And so I will try to do better and hope to make good use of the new opportunity to practice every day. Please Lord, help me to do this tiny thing "for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in atonement for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary." My Jesus, I love You. Make me love You more and more.