Mass and Prayer and Life …
(from a September 7, 1980 conference)

Recently a very holy Lebanese monk named Saint Charbel Mahkluf was canonized.  He was outstanding for his devotion to the Eucharist.  He used to spend seven hours preparing to say Mass.  He was a hermit and a monk, and so he had time to do that.  We have not got that kind of time for prayer and preparation, of course, but we could be more conscious of what we are preparing for as we go through life waiting for our next chance to take part in Our Lord’s Holy Mass.
All our life in all its aspects can be used as preparation for Mass.  At Mass we share in the life and death and resurrection of Christ, the Paschal Mystery as it is called.
. . . Our ordinary daily duties can be joined to Christ’s life.  Our sufferings, failings, disappointments, humiliations, etc., can be joined to His death.  Our victories, our special good works and prayers and fervor can be joined to His resurrection.  All we do can fit into the Easter mystery of Our Lord and derive grace from the Mass we have assisted at and prepare us for the next we shall celebrate.
Of course apart from the ordinary daily round of duties that make up our ordinary human lives, we do need our specifically spiritual exercises each day.  These spiritual exercises are particularly necessary to prepare us to worship God more deeply and more sincerely in the Liturgy.  Our mental prayer, in particular, trains us to be recollected and to be more reverent and humble and joyful as we meet God in the Holy Mass.  It molds our hearts for worship.
So it is possible to have a kind of double motive for keeping up our own personal spiritual rule of life.  One is the desire to be close to our divine Lord and live with Him and in Him.  The other motive, which overlaps this one, is the desire to become better and better at taking our full and fervent part in the Holy Mass from which all our graces come and in which we offer everything back to God in love and gratitude.  Our Christian life cannot be thought of as separate from its source and summit in the Eucharist.  All this makes it clear what a sad level those Catholics have sunk to who think that the obligation of attending Mass on Sundays is an imposition and a burden. . . .
There are some devotions that are particularly valuable as a preparation for the Liturgy in which the life and death and resurrection of Our Lord are communicated to us.  One such devotion is the Stations of the Cross.  As St. Paul tells us, we show forth the death of Our Lord in the Mass until He comes in glory.  The Stations of the Cross help us very much to appreciate the death of Our Lord and to appreciate His love and to turn away with horror from willful sins.
The Holy Rosary is another perfect devotion as preparation for Holy Mass.  In the Rosary we meditate in Our Lady’s company and with Her great help on the mysteries of the life and death and resurrection of Our Lord, and we are led to imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.  The mysteries of the Rosary bring before us the life and death and resurrection of Christ, the Paschal mystery, and if we really appreciate that the Liturgy is the summit and source of Christian life, we shall connect our saying of the Rosary with our preparation for Mass and Communion, even if we say the Rosary sometime other than just before Mass.  In fact, why should we not consciously see everything we do during each day as a getting ready for receiving Jesus next time we go to Mass? . . .
As I said before, we cannot spend hours and hours in prayer as a preparation for meeting God and worshiping Him and receiving Him at Holy Mass, but we can live our whole lives as one long living of the Mass.  We can offer all the aspects of our life to God in sheer adoration as His sons and daughters.  We can offer all that we do and say and suffer in thanksgiving . . . We can offer all our works and sufferings in sorrow for our sins.  We can make our whole lives a plea for God’s will to be done and for all graces to be poured out on mankind.
How highly favored we are!  One of the Fathers of the Church said that if we were to meet an angel coming down the aisle as we returned to our place after receiving Holy Communion, the angel could say to each of us, “Hail, full of grace.”  We are like Mary then, and we should try to grow more like Her always. . . .
At the Last Supper when Jesus gave His Body and Blood to the Apostles and, through their first Communion with Him sacramentally, founded His Church, He spoke to all of us, saying, “Do this in memory of Me.”  That is His last command to us at the moment of His of His greatest love for us.
Let us adore Our Lord and thank Him for the inconceivable riches He has given to us as Catholics

Back to list


Website Design & Maintenance by Reach For It Media, Inc.