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Father Muench Says...

‘Mass is truly our best prayer’

February 14, 2024

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Lately, I have been speaking and writing a great deal about prayer. I am sure it’s because Lent is coming. Lent is all about prayer. Lent is also a time for silence and fasting.

Today, I have decided on one more look at prayer. I would like to share with you about making the Mass a prayer. Mass is truly our best prayer. Please join me as we discover the prayer times during each Mass.

Our prayer should begin as we enter the church building as we gather for Mass. I know God is present in our churches in a special and sacramental way. So, each time we enter a church, God is there to welcome us with love and peace. God calls us to Eucharist as we go through the door. Each time we enter, we must find Jesus. We must bring our love and joy to the Lord. As the People of God, we must bring ourselves ready for our prayer.

Our Mass begins with a penitential rite. In prayer, we turn to the Lord in repentance. We seek forgiveness for our failings and sins. We prepare our hearts and souls to celebrate with the Lord, to celebrate the Eucharist.

Then we listen as the Scriptures are read to us. The Scriptures become our prayer when we put ourselves into each of these stories. We come closer to Jesus when we spend some time with the apostles. We seek Jesus and his healing power as we join the crowds listening to his teaching. We experience the love of Jesus and hear his message as we spend time with the Lord, who wants to be our friend.

When we enter the stories of Scripture, we are truly transformed by the presence of the Lord Jesus.

In the Mass, we are now invited to the altar for the Eucharistic Prayer. All of us in the church must join with the priest celebrant at the altar to pray with Jesus united with the apostles as they were at the Last Supper. As the people of God, our prayer becomes united with Jesus – ever present in the consecrated Holy Eucharist. In this way, we become the Body of Christ each time we are united at Mass. And each of us are united with the Lord who is our Eucharist. It is a time of deep gratitude.

I cannot emphasis enough that Mass is not a spectator sport. We must all participate. We must all be a part of what is happening at the altar. At a children’s Mass, I invite the children to stand with me around the altar. I want them to realize God wants them to be close as they pray together at the Mass with each other and with the priest. The Lord wants us all to be overwhelmed by the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. All of us must be well aware of the Lord’s presence with us at each Eucharist.

Then, we are invited to come forward to receive the Holy Eucharist. I wish we had the time so that each person could take a moment as they present themselves to the priest or Eucharistic Minister to receive the Eucharist and say, “Here I am Lord, I come in gratitude for all your blessings. Become one with me, Lord. Lead me and guide me this day that I may live well through the support of your Body and Blood.”

So, that is our Mass. At the end of each Mass, we are sent as the people of God to make this world a better place.

Our prayer at the Mass is transformative. We should leave Mass – every Mass – a new person, more alive in the Lord, a true disciple of the Lord and ready to meet the challenges the Lord has prepared for us this day.

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