We continue meditating this week on preparation for Holy Mass. “If the liturgical act is to be taken seriously, we must prepare for it beforehand, and this requires total concentration of mind and heart,” Fr Romano Guardini points out. “What is needed is a personal preparation… in the usual sense of the individual believer strengthening his faith, purifying his heart, arranging and directing his intentions, but also that… vital attitude absolutely necessary to transform a collection of individuals into a congregation, and a restless crowd into a holy people in the sight of God.”
Seemingly paradoxically, it is in stillness and silence before God that we are able to connect in a deep way with each other as we pray before Holy Mass. I experienced this on a natural level as a child in the safe times when I visited my maternal grandparents and there were times of loving, comfortable silence as we three sat in the living room together between activities. Those times of silent attentive presence to the each other opened us to each other in a way that continues to echo in my soul 30 years later as an important part of what family means. It is something deeply internalized and personal, yet profoundly connecting us into one.
Yet that indelible and dear memory was only on the natural plane. In silent prayer and preparation before Holy Mass, a soul in the State of Grace is making acts of the supernatural acts of faith, hope and charity. There is, therefore, a supernatural reality at play - a reality that connects us not by shared blood, but even more profoundly in the blood of Christ that makes us one in His Body, the Church. This supernatural silent and still attentiveness opens our individual hearts and connects them to build a spiritual edifice among us that makes room for the coming Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. It is the holy action of Christ in the Sacraments that binds us together, but in attentive, prayerful preparation we dispose ourselves more to the graces God wishes to pour out on the community and on each of us individually.
Thus Fr Guardini says, “Only from such central preparedness can the gaze lifted to the altar grow inwardly quiet and receptive to holiness; only then can hearing and speaking in church differ from the give-and-take of words in the street, the home, or the office.” Without this preparation, the divine words of the Holy Mass are in danger of becoming common, ordinary, and irrelevant - simply more noise that fills our lives.
How important the moments of silence and stillness before Holy Mass to strengthen the deepest bonds between each of us! And how that bond is strengthened supernatural when the words of the prayers and Scripture in Mass echo strongly inside us so we are conformed more perfectly to Him who is Charity Himself! God bless you! + FrDT
“So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love..” -1Corithinians 13:13 (2nd reading this Sunday)