Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Contemplating the Mass

One Commenter gave some really good advice:
“Father, I know it must be frustrating to have nothing to do... BUT... Take walks. Long walks. All day walks where you bring some food and water and explore places you've never been. Wander in cemeteries and read tombstones. Visit parks, and fields, and churches and malls. Walk, observe, ponder, and meet God where you find him.”

I cannot deny I am enjoying this period a bit. It has been a chance to get in some reading, reflection and personal time. One very positive aspect is liturgical: a chance to live the Mass in a more contemplative way.

The hurried pace of starting and finishing Mass on time often takes away some of the most enjoyable aspects for the priest who celebrates. Celebrating for a community denies a priest important aspects. Take for instance Communion. Just moments after he receives communion, the priest is set before the innumerable surprises that he sees in the communion line: do you place the Body of Christ on the palm of the girl who wrote her boyfriends phone number there some days ago, and doesn’t want to wash it off? Another who walks away with the Host in his hand, the many close calls of Hosts almost dropped, not to mention how people dress for Mass and Communion. Distractions abound and it is hard to give thanks for the gift of Communion.

The chance to celebrate the Mass on my own, with no set schedule, to pause when the Holy Spirit speaks to me during the Liturgy of the Word, to pray the Mass giving meaning to the words, to kneel in adoration after the Consecration, etc., are an immeasurable grace that most priests don’t get.


  1. I found the Mass to be my saving grace after leaving RC. It was only there that I knew all was right with the world and Truth abounds. Nothing could come between my soul and the Eucharist and nothing could deceive me there. Only there did I experience Truth itself and it refreshed me over this past year. The word "commitments" left my mind and instead I just sat with my Lord who knew all the pain and betrayal we all suffered.

  2. Your comments betray your legion formation, or deformation. The mass is not a private devotion of the priest but a community celebration. And those "distractions" are the body of Christ. Become what you receive - Augustin.
    I hope when you are assigned to a parish you truely find celebrating the Eucharist with a community of sinners and saints to be more spiritualy rewarding.


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