Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Thank you to all who participated in the Scavenger Hunt! I hope it was a fun and educational experience for you. The final answers are attached.
Before we pray together the Palm Sunday Mass on April 5, I’d like to make a few comments to help us all better prepare for this new remote experience. Hopefully these suggestions will help us to situate ourselves in this unfamiliar space of participating in Mass on TV or other devices.
I know for most of us it’s not the norm to watch Mass on a television, phone or computer screen. I realize that it’s a very different experience and I’ve been told it is difficult to engage and to stay focused, because you are not at church but at home. You are not in the same space. Even if you sit in the back of the church, you are still in church, so I understand the challenge this may be. Let me make a few suggestions that might help us worship together even while we are apart.
First, prepare yourself for the Mass by being purposeful and being aware of your mass intention. Remember you have the keychain and the Gospel Reflection book. Use them.
Second, do not just turn technology on and begin to watch Mass as you might a sporting event or the news. As much as possible, you do not want to be a spectator. Be mindful about the sacred mystery you are about to enter into.
Third, if you can, and if it is safe to do so, light a candle and place it in your sight as a reminder of the presence of Christ. Make sure it is safe so you don’t have to think about it while it is burning.
Fourth, if the technology you are using to view the Mass can be in your sacred space, that might help you. I mentioned in one of my previous emails about making a sacred space, a prayer corner in your home. If you have not created a sacred space, this is the time to do so.
Fifth, picture yourself at church, in the pew where you normally sit. The people who normally sit behind you are behind you. The people who normally sit in front of you are in front of you. The people who normally sit next to you are next to you. See yourself in church as you normally are with the regular folks sitting near you. Now to keep yourself in church it might be helpful to close your eyes. I know that sounds very odd to close your eyes as you sit in front of a screen, but these are odd times. It might be helpful…maybe you want to alternate between having your eyes open or closed. Whatever is going to work for you will be fine. You know the responses to the Mass, so respond audibly. You also know the appropriate times to sit, stand and kneel.
Sixth, during the offertory, offer yourself to God. All of you, God receives in love. In the same way that bread and wine will never be grapes and wheat again, may we too be transformed by this Eucharist.
Seventh, during communion, since circumstances prevent you from receiving Holy Communion in your hand, make an act of Spiritual Communion by praying the prayer below. Spiritual Communion is uniting yourself in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid sin.
Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come into my heart.
I embrace you because you are already there and I unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
I hope these suggestions are helpful as we move into this new way of celebrating Eucharist. I realize participating in this manner is different, but we are in very different time, so we must adjust as we move forward.
Always, may God’s peace be yours,