The Mass and our participation
The Mass is invaluable. It is in this mystery of faith that the people of God feed on the Body and Blood of Jesus, for the “Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s Easter, the actualization and sacramental offering of his only sacrifice in the liturgy of the Church, which is the his body “(Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. Pope John Paul II , at the beginning of his Encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia”, affirmed that “the Church lives on the Eucharist”, so all our attention and interiority to everything that composes the before, during and after the Mass are essential for full participation. Let us see important points to participate well in the Eucharistic Celebration:
1 – Faith
We believe that “at the Last Supper our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood in order to perpetuate through the centuries the sacrifice of the cross until his coming and thus entrust to the Church, his beloved Spouse, the memorial of his Death and Resurrection “(General Instruction of the Roman Missal, n.2).
To have faith in what is celebrated is fundamental, since we believe with the whole Church in the one and eternal sacrifice of love of Jesus Christ celebrated in the Mass, with the certainty that “the Eucharist is the summary and the sum of our faith” (CCC. 1327). In this, it is not enough just to be baptized and to be inserted in the Church, but also, we must believe in what we celebrate in each Liturgy.
2 – The preparation
Preparation is necessary in every way, in order to participate well at the climax of the Mass. Luke 22: 7-13 tells us that Jesus had a large room prepared when he was going to celebrate with his disciples the Passover meal, where he instituted the sacrifice of his Body and Blood. On this biblical passage which shows a whole preparation, “the Church has always judged this order directed to itself, establishing how to prepare people, places, rites and texts, for the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist ” (GIRM, n.1) .
Thus, in the face of the great mystery of love that presents itself to us at Mass, we must, in advance, prepare our hearts to live well. Already, well before the celebration, it is important to try to manage the possible internal agitations, vain preoccupations, anxieties, confusions and everything that is secondary, in relation to the essential that will be the Eucharistic Celebration.
3 – The provision
The Mass is central to the Catholic and everyone should be willing and free at this time. Going by simple obligation to the Mass is to deprive ourselves of the various benefits it provides, because God expects from us acts of love and faith, and not only a preceptory presence, which must also be observed. In the celebration of the Mass, the center of all Christian life, is the summit of the action by which God sanctifies the world in Christ, and the worship that men offer to the Father by adoring the Son Jesus. (See IGMR, n.16). Therefore, we need to feed our disposition, to be and participate well in the Mass, with all that we are and to worship the Father in the Son with joy and gratitude.
4 – The gestures and posture of the body
The Church teaches that “the gestures and positions of the body of the priest, the deacon and the ministers, as well as of the people, should help to ensure that the whole celebration shines with decorum and noble simplicity if one understands the true and full significance of its various parties, and to promote the participation of all “(GIRM, n.42).
It is imperative that our body, mind and heart conform to what is being celebrated. Let the vision be focused on the altar and the priest; that the hearing absorbs the sounds that help to experience the mystery celebrated; and that even the touch does not divert our attention, when using objects that are not related to the Eucharistic moment. May our whole being be turned to the Liturgy celebrated.May our whole attitude be appropriate to the sacredness of the Mass.
All this, that all may form one body, either by hearing the word of God, or by participating in prayer and song. For this is a unity which manifests itself in beauty in the gestures and attitudes of the body which the faithful observe together. (See GIRM, No. 96).
5 – Keep silence
Before the commencement of the celebration, it is praiseworthy to observe the silence in the Church, the sacristy, and places nearby, so that there may be a proper preparation to celebrate, devoutly and with dignity, the sacred rites. In the Mass, sacred silence should be kept as part of the celebration, in which in the penitential act and the invitation to prayer, silence is destined for interior recollection; in the readings and homily, silence is for a brief meditation on what has been heard; and after communion , silence favors the inner prayer of praise and thanksgiving. (See GIRM, No. 45).
6 – Attention to the liturgy
It is important that the whole assembly, people of God, participate fully in the Mass, observing every part that they are: the initial rites; the liturgy of the word; the Eucharistic liturgy; and the rite of completion. Another point is to have the clarity of the Liturgical Time which the Church is celebrating, which are the cycles of Common Time, Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.
In this way the liturgical fulfillment of the Mass, through sensible signs, which nourishes, strengthens and expresses faith , must arouse in each person the intense desire to participate actively and fully.For “by the Eucharistic Celebration we have already united to the liturgy of heaven and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all” (CCC 1326).
Pope Francis in his catechesis on November 8, 2017 said: “Do not forget: to participate in the Mass is to live once again the redemptive passion and death of the Lord”. Therefore, the experience of this sublime mystery of love will always lead us to Christ himself, who gave himself and gave himself to each one of us on the day of his Easter celebrated at Mass.