Getting something out of mass
I have often heard people say that they don’t “get anything” out of mass. They may ask how to get more out of the mass, and I have wondered this myself at times. Many times people judge what they’ve received from mass (or some other worship service for that matter) by their emotions or feelings afterward, by the quality of the sermon, or even by the music. These qualities may have an effect on your feelings, but whether they do or not is not a factor in measuring what you take away from mass.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen when answering the question on “how to get more out of mass,” simply stated that “getting something” out of mass, is a matter of “bringing something” to it.1 We must bring knowledge of the mass if we are to get anything out of it. A person gets enjoyment out of watching a football game because he/she brings knowledge of the game, the rules, the history, the players, ect, to the game. A person who doesn’t know anything about the rules or the game will probably enjoy it much less, or have no interest in it at all.
Another example may be when watching a movie. What good is watching just the end of a movie? You need to know what happened first and what the plot was before the end makes any sense to you. Isn’t it annoying when someone starts watching a movie near the end, or falls asleep during the first half of it, and insistently asks you what happened and who the characters are while you’re trying to watch the end? They need to know so they can understand and enjoy the ending.
So how do we get more out of mass? Bring some knowledge to it. Learn about the mass. Read the scriptures, especially the upcoming readings. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips with the internet. We are also blessed with the EWTN network on television. Ask your parish priest if you have questions, or send us an email and we’ll gladly guide you in the right direction.
Jesus’ first miracle
In John chapter 2, Jesus is at the wedding feast at Cana. Mary comes over to Jesus and tells Him that the host ran out of wine. Verses 6 and 7 read: “Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim.”2 We all know that Jesus then changes the water into wine (a better wine than they had earlier). The question is why did Jesus have them fill the jars with water? He obviously didn’t need the water in order to change it into wine. He is God. God made everything out of nothing. There are many symbols and theological principles that can be drawn from this, but one point that it makes is that at times Jesus will ask us to bring something to Him so that he may change it into something better. Our Lord can do miraculous things with the little that we bring to Him; we just need to make the effort to bring it to Him.
In order to get more out of the mass, we must bring something to it! What can we bring? Ourselves first of all! Let’s equip ourselves with knowledge of the mass. There is always something more to learn. Of course, knowing that our Lord is made substantially present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, is a great place to start. Pray, for our Lord said: “ask and you shall receive…” Enter into the presence of the Lord outside of mass through Eucharistic adoration, for He alone will give us all that we need.
1 From Archbishop Fulton Sheen “The Meaning of the Mass.”
2 John 2:6-7.