Hey, Father! How can I better prepare for Mass?

Hey, Father! How can I better prepare for Mass?

– Drew in Springfield

I think everyone at some point has felt distracted or not present at Mass. My answer to better prepare for Mass would be prayer, study, and live. If possible, I would say arrive a few minutes early before Mass. Use the time to pray and quiet yourself. Most of us live very rushed and busy lives these days, so that time of silence allows us to focus our attention on God and offering worship to the Lord. Also, I would suggest praying over the readings before Mass on Sunday. By praying over the readings ahead of time, you will be more familiar to them and ready to let the Lord our God speak to you through them.

            The second suggestion I would offer would be to study the Mass. Today as Catholics, we have so much Catholic media at our hands to learn more about our Catholic Faith. We have Dynamic Catholic, Catholic Answers, EWTN, or Word on Fire, to name just a few, literally at our fingertips. Studying the Mass can really open our eyes to the amazing meaning behind the symbols and gestures that are used at Mass. One excellent series on the Mass that I recently watched was Bishop Barron’s “The Mass.” It is a short series that goes through the different parts of the Mass and explains the rich meanings.

            Finally, my third suggestion would be to live the Mass. The Mass is meant to form how we live because the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. At every Mass, the Lord Jesus speaks to us and pours out his grace to heal and nourish us. One way we live the Mass is to bring an intention to every Mass. We all know someone or something to pray for at every Mass. Offer that intention up during the prayers of the faithful in your heart.

Also, we can live the Mass by offering up and uniting our sacrifices up to the Sacrifice of the Eucharist. We see and hear this at every Mass when the Priest says, “Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.” We are all invited here to offer our sacrifices from our lives that we do for God like our work life, family life, and prayer life represented by the gifts of bread, wine, and money. So to better prepare for Mass, think of your sacrifices that you want to offer to God before Mass and offer them up during the Eucharistic prayer. Then look in awe as your sacrifices and mine are lifted up literally by the Priest to God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit, and we receive the ultimate gift back, the sacrifice of Christ’s Body and Blood.

Father Mark Tracy is parochial vicar of St. Anthony of Padua in Effingham and Annunciation in Shumway and Catholic chaplain for the Illinois Army National Guard