Why You Must Stay Awake During Mass
During Mass, the risen Jesus is present. He comes to walk and talk with us. He opens the Scriptures for us and challenges us to open our hearts to believe in him. He breaks the bread for us just as he did with his apostles and gives himself to us in his Body and Blood.
Jesus taught the first Christians that when we gather on Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, we are not gathering only with family and friends in our parishes but also with his angels and saints for he is also present on the altar. He is the altar on which the lamb would be sacrificed, the priest and the sacrificial lamb as well.
In a mysterious way, our Mass on earth unites us with God and the heavenly choir in the eternal liturgy of heaven. Our worship in the Mass also makes us one Body in Christ with our fellow Catholics everywhere in the world — in every nation from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Thus, we must approach every Mass with a spirit of reverence and respect.
Your experience of the Mass will change if you try to get there a little early so that you have time to settle your mind and prepare your heart.
Try to enter the sanctuary slowly, reverently and without speaking. Spend a few minutes kneeling and talking to Jesus Christ with real intimacy in the silence of your heart.
When Mass begins and the priest processes to the altar, try to keep in mind that he is not only our friend and our pastor but a physical representation of Christ Ordained by God.
Thus, he will pray and offer the sacrifice of the Mass in the person of Jesus Christ — in persona Christi.
The priest calls us into God’s presence, greeting us with the salutation used by God’s angels in the Bible. When he says, “The Lord be with you,” we should have the same joy that the Blessed Virgin Mary had when God’s angel spoke those words to her.
The priest might instead use St. Paul’s apostolic greeting: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
In our new Mass translation, the priest will pray that more precise word, “communion,” instead of “fellowship,” which we are used to hearing. The people will also respond with new words: “And with your spirit.” These words too are from St. Paul.
These small changes remind us that in the Mass, God is sharing himself with us in his Spirit of love, and in his Spirit of love, he is drawing all of us into communion as one family of God.
And with your spirit reminds us that we are more than our material bodies. In Baptism, God has poured his love into our hearts through the gift of his Spirit, making each of us a child of God. What a beautiful gift!
As Jesus said that God is Spirit, and he calls us to worship him in spirit and in truth. The Mass is Spiritual as it has been for Christians since the beginning. In our worship, we join ourselves to Christ’s great act of love on the cross. “Through him, with him and in him”, we offer our lives to God and to our brothers and sisters in love.
May Our Lady help us to stay awake during Mass this week and as well better live the Mass.