Saturday, June 30, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 25

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel








From Chapter 4 - Confess - Part 1

If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
— ROMANS 1 0 : 9

One night when a group of believers had gathered to pray in a country where such a gathering was forbidden by law, a cry went out when two soldiers burst through the doors. They yelled out that they would give anyone in the room a chance to leave before arresting those who refused to do so.A few of the gathered immediately bolted out of the room.

As soon as they left,the soldiers closed the doors and said,“We are believers too, but we couldn’t trust those who were not ready to be arrested for their faith.”Putting down their guns,they joined the others in prayer.
When you and I hear the word confess we are apt to think of it in terms of our sins, but the word also means to acknowledge one’s belief.The two meanings, when it comes to Christianity,are very related. What we consider to be sinful has a lot to do with how much we really believe in God.
People throw their beliefs about God around quite freely these days,usually prefaced by “Oh,I don’t think God cares about that.”
Christians believe that Jesus has revealed God and what God is like to us. Jesus formed a group of disciples around him and told them that God’s spirit would stay with them until the end of time. This group was to hand down his teaching, baptize other followers, forgive sins, and teach all that Jesus, the Son of God, had commanded them to pass on. Peter had a special role in this group.
Jesus revealed the love of God to us by dying for us and leaving us a memorial of his death in the Eucharist.The word memorial had a special meaning for the Jewish people of Jesus’s time. It didn’t mean recalling the past, as it does for us today, but rather it meant making present a past event. Thus, when we come together at the Eucharist, we are present at Calvary and witness once again what God is like through Jesus.
People who die for any cause care a lot. Jesus has revealed to us that God cares a lot! God desires our salvation.
If we want to get the most out of the Eucharist, we need to confess: We must confess belief in God, as we do in the Creed, and confess that we are not always the greatest of followers of Jesus.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 24

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel






From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 11


F U R T H E R H E L P S

1. Keep Your Focus on Jesus

When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Our Lord rebuked the devil saying, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall  worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’”(Matthew 4:10).
When you are tempted to worship anything else, no matter how lofty it might seem, call to mind this incident from Our Lord’s life.

2. Learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary

When the Blessed Virgin Mary was called “Blessed among women” by her cousin Elisabeth she responded with “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” (Luke 1:46–47). She pointed to God and worshiped only him.
Following Mary’s example, we should seek to “decrease” in order that God may “increase” as we adore him above all.

3. Foster an Attitude of Adoration

St. Paul told the Thessalonians to Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God
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in Christ Jesus for you”(1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).When we foster this attitude our hearts will be focused on adoring God at every moment of our lives.

4. Developing a Eucharistic Spirituality

A concrete way to prefer the love of Christ throughout the day when faced with countless other “loves” is to hear the words Jesus spoke to Peter addressed to yourself: “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15).

5. A Prayer for Today

Recite this prayer of St. Teresa of Ávila often:
Let nothing trouble you, let nothing make you afraid.
All things pass away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains everything.
God alone is enough.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 23

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel





From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 10

Bless the Lord, fire and heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, dews and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, nights and days, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord,light and darkness,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.Bless the Lord,ice and cold,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, frosts and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Let the
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earth bless the Lord; let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.”
— DANIEL 3 : 4 4 – 5 2
There has been many a winter morning when I was scraping snow and ice from my car when the words of this prayer have come to my lips, often, I must confess, rather sarcastically.
Too often we forget that God has a plan that doesn’t quite match up to ours. If our plans and possessions dominate us, we can become very ungrateful in life and perhaps even feel cursed. Yet if we die to ourselves and adore God, giving thanks to God in all things, even when we are standing in the flames, or freezing in the ice and snow, we’ll find that God has a reason and purpose for everything. As St.Teresa of Ávila said,“There is no such thing as bad weather. All weather is good because it is God’s.”
T H A N K G O D A H E A D        O F T I M E
There is an American friar whose cause for sainthood is currently before Rome. His name is Father Solanus Casey; he was a Capuchin Friar who ministered in Detroit, New York, and Huntington, Indiana. He died over forty years ago. I often walk the grounds of the former friary where he served in Huntington and think about his ministry. Born of Irish immigrants, he was sent to German seminaries where the priests taught him in German how to speak Latin. He didn’t fare too well — who would?
Eventually he was ordained but not allowed to preach doctrinal sermons or hear confessions. In a time when there was more of a caste system in religious life he was given a “brothers’ job” as porter. People sought him out near and far.They found great wisdom in his words, and great miracles of healing were recorded after his prayer and touch. Many were converted.
In many ways, it would seem that he would have had much to be bitter about. He was obviously one of the most gifted friars in the community, but he was treated as one who had little to offer.

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Yet he was not bitter, and his advice to people who requested prayer and healing is interesting. He told them to “thank God ahead of time”— as an act of faith.He often also had them enroll in a Mass association as a way of giving thanks to God.
This is a beautiful message for us: to thank God in all things, to be thankful for everything that life brings to us even if to all appearances it doesn’t seem there is anything to be thankful for, and to thank God ahead of time,trusting that in God’s time good will come from it all.
The Eucharist is all about “giving thanks,” and how much you and I can do so at any given moment is dependent upon how deeply we are adoring and worshiping God.Offering God our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving will help us to get the most from the Eucharist.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 22

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 22


From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 9


P R O B L E M S V E R S U S B L E S S I N G S
A prayer that is recited by those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours on every major feast day of the Church is an example of the kind of thanksgiving that should be the prayer of all believers. It is called the Benedicite, after the many times that the word “Bless” is used in it. In this case “Bless” is another way of saying “give thanks and praise.” The setting is found in the book of Daniel,where three young men are placed in a fiery furnace,something I’m sure even the most faithful among us would be tempted
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to think of as a “big problem.” As they enter the fiery furnace to what would seem like a certain death,one of them,Azariah,prays:
Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of our fathers, and worthy of praise; and thy name is glorified for ever. For thou art just in all that thou hast done to us, and all thy works are true and thy ways right, and all thy judgments are truth.Thou hast executed true judgments in all that thou hast brought upon us and upon Jerusalem, the holy city of our fathers, for in truth and justice thou hast brought all this upon us because of our sins. For we have sinfully and lawlessly departed from thee, and have sinned in all things and have not obeyed thy commandments; we have not observed them or done them, as thou hast commanded us that it might go well with us.
— DANIEL 3 : 3 – 7
It is a prayer of thanksgiving, sounding very much like a Eucharistic Prayer that is prayed at the Mass we attend.Those trying to exterminate the three men, hearing the prayer, stoke up the flames, and the three pray a prayer that includes the following:
Bless the Lord, fire and heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, dews and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, nights and days, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord,light and darkness,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.Bless the Lord,ice and cold,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, frosts and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Let the
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earth bless the Lord; let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.”
— DANIEL 3 : 4 4 – 5 2

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 21

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel







From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 8


ADORING GOD WITH PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING
One of my favorite quotes is from the journals of Father Alexander Schmemann: “God, when creating the world, did not solve problems or pose them.He created what He could call ‘very good.’ God created the world, but the devil transformed the world and man and life into a ‘problem.’ ”10 If we want to adore God with praise and thanksgiving we are going to have to learn to stop seeing everything as a “problem” or “interruption” and begin to be open to seeing God’s goodness and interventions even in the most unlikely of places.
Many of the most horrific sins ever committed by human beings happen because people see problems where they should see blessings. If we do not adore God above all, we risk doing horrible things as we serve whatever else we have put in God’s place.
H ELP FROM THE FATHERS OF THE C HURCH
Human beings are created for the purpose of praising God.The Lord demands nothing else in the same manner that he requires praise and thanksgiving of us.For that reason he made rational beings and distinguished us from animals by our power of speech so that we might praise and glorify him continually.
— S T. J OHN C HRYSOSTOM

Monday, June 25, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 20

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel






From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 7


B E I N G L O V E D  B Y J E S U S

In Mark 10:21 in the account of the rich young man, Mark tells us that Jesus,“looking upon him loved him, and said to him,‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ ”
Notice that because Christ loves the rich young man,he points out what the young man lacks. It is out of love that Jesus tells him to get rid of all his possessions.
Christ’s love will reveal similar deficiencies in us. Our Lord looks upon us and recognizes what we really need. However, we often come to him with our own ideas about what we need. If we prefer our own ideas to the love of Christ, we too will join the rich young man who walks away sad, “for his possessions were many.” We may possess the world, but without Christ it is nothing!

L O V I N G J E S U S

In John 8:42, Jesus is engaged in a heated argument with those who oppose him. He says to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.” We know, therefore, that Jesus is God, and we should prefer nothing to God and his love, which Jesus has revealed to us perfectly.
How do we know if we truly love Our Lord? He addresses this in John 14:23-24: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” We love Our Lord by doing what he commands us to do.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 19

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel







From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 6

“ T R U S T I N G  I N G O D    I N A LL C I R C U M S TA N C E S
When Our Lord spoke about his Second Coming, an event that every celebration of the Eucharist looks forward to and prays for in a joyful manner,he laid out the signs that will precede that coming, and indeed they are all rather horrible — that is, if all your hope is invested in your 401K.Yet notice the contrast between the unbeliever and the believer:
And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

— LUKE 2 1 : 2 5 – 2 8 ( EMPHASIS ADDED )

While one crowd is dying of fear because everything seems to be crumbling around them the other crowd, the believers, stand up and look to the heavens. Why?
If we truly place our faith in God,we will trust in him no matter what happens. In fact, the way that we see will be completely different. Jesus referred to unbelievers as blind and believers as those who truly see. Seeing that God is the “one thing needful” keeps us from putting our trust in anything else.
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St. Benedict, in his Rule, counsels those who want to follow Christ “to prefer nothing to the love of Christ.”9 This means that we must love Christ above everything else, and that being loved by Christ must be our first priority in life.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 18

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel







From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 5

LE S S O N S LE A R N ED F RO M A T H REE -Y E A R -O L D
My son Joseph walked into the room while I was putting together the material for this chapter. When he walked in I was having a difficult time coming up with a good illustration for what “living in thanksgiving” means in the concrete and I wasn’t thankful that he was bothering me. Then it struck me that the point of living in thanksgiving is simply that what I might otherwise perceive as an interruption becomes an intervention, once I adore God above all things.
God had sent Joseph into my room. This hit me when I sent him away and he said “Thank you,” as he went off. For a period of his young life he had the habit of saying “thank you,” not after he had been given something that he was appreciative of but rather

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when he had been told to do something, I think he thought that “thank you”meant “okay.”Yet this is exactly what living in thanksgiving is, saying “thank you” to whatever God presents to us in the daily events of our lives.

“ L I V I N G I N T H A N K S G I V I N G

Living in thanksgiving literally means always having gratitude on your lips.
The late great Orthodox liturgist Alexander Schmemann felt that the meaning of “thanksgiving”— the literal translation of the Greek word Eucharist — had been lost on modern people. We tend to limit giving thanks to only those things that we receive that we perceive as good.Yet Schmemann argues that for the early church “giving thanks” was something the Christian did because the Kingdom of God had been restored in Jesus Christ.
Our very inclusion in Christ is reason enough to give thanks; the fact that God has spoken to us in the Word is another reason to give thanks; the fact that Christ has saved us and shares his Body and Blood with us is another reason to give thanks; and the fact that Christ has given us a mission is yet another reason to give him thanks! In fact,you will recognize that at the point in the celebration of the Eucharist that each of these things is mentioned, we express our thanks, either as a congregation, when we say, “Thanks be to God,” or through the presider, when he says to God, “We give you thanks.”
Because of what Christ has done for us we now have a vantage point in life that those who do not know Christ do not have.The liturgy is a mystery of light, and we are on the mountaintop of the Transfiguration and know that Jesus rises from the dead — that he is victorious over our enemies. Therefore, as St. Paul tells the Thessalonians, we can “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
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LIVING THE E UCHARIST
Practice giving thanks to God at all times. Make it a habit to step back when you judge something negatively and to ask God to help you to see it in his will.


Friday, June 22, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 17

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel







From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 4

G E T T I N G      T H E M O S T O U T       O F          T H E E U C H A R I S T    B Y A D O R I N G G O D

From a positive standpoint, then, what can we do to adore God in the Eucharist?
First we must foster a sense of reverence for God.The actions in the Mass of kneeling, bowing, and beating our breasts all have meaning. They cause us to consciously call to mind that God is present and to focus all of our attention on what God wants of us at the present moment.
Second, we need to worship the Eucharist outside of Mass in order to foster a deeper communion with our Eucharistic Lord when we receive his awesome gift at Mass. When we actively worship Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament we grow in awareness of what it means to receive him at Communion. Pope John Paul II has written about this as a necessary element
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to restoring an awe of the precious gift of the Eucharist. A Franciscan friend recently told me that when preaching about the Eucharist to young people, he begins by telling them to “Be amazed,” paraphrasing the Holy Father’s injunction.
Coming aside to reverence Christ in the Eucharist, realizing that he is before us, has the same power to change us as he did to those who came into his earthly presence.
LIVING THE E UCHARIST
Try to find time to make a visit to a chapel or church to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Give Christ whatever time you have, whether a little or a lot. Make acts of worship in his presence.
Consciously call to mind God’s presence throughout the day, no matter where you are.

Third,we need to understand what the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls “the implications of faith in one God.” It means:
    “Living in thanksgiving” (CCC 224).
    “Trusting God in every circumstance” (CCC 227).

Thursday, June 21, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 16



From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel






From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 3


A C O M M A N D M E N T

In 1989 something happened to me that I still think a lot about. I had come into our parish church in order to obtain the Blessed Sacrament to bring to the sick in the local hospital. As I approached the sanctuary of the church, I knelt down to spend a few minutes of prayer before setting out. It was then that something compelled me to prostrate myself on that spot on the carpeted floor. This was something I had seldom done before. So there I knelt with my hands and head pressed to the floor.
I felt something rough pressing into my forehead. Raising my head from the floor and feeling my forehead,I found pieces of the Eucharist (this parish used homemade unleavened bread at their Sunday Masses, a type of bread that crumbled quite easily). Feeling around the floor, I found more pieces of the Eucharist there. I picked them up and placed them into the pyx that I was carrying with me and took them to the pastor of the parish. The pastor immediately put a stop to the parish using the homemade bread until they could find a way to keep this “abuse” of the Blessed Sacrament from occurring.
This incident is noteworthy to me because of the “impulse” that came over me to adore those unseen pieces of the Blessed Sacrament on the floor.
In Scripture this impulse to adore happens whenever someone comes into contact with a messenger of God, with an event that reminds them of God, or with God himself in the person of Jesus.Abraham does this in Genesis 18:2,Balaam does it in Numbers 22:31, Joshua does it in Joshua 5:14, the blind man does it
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to Jesus in John 9:38, and the disciples do it to Jesus in Matthew 28:9. Those tempted to adore God’s works, however, are condemned in Scripture.
When John falls down to worship an angel in the Book of Revelation, the angel scolds him, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God” (Revelation 19:10). Likewise, when Cornelius bows down to worship Peter, he is told by the apostle, “Stand up; I too am a man” (Acts 10:26), and when Paul and Barnabas are the recipients of unwanted worship they tear their garments and beg the people to recognize that God alone is to be worshipped (see Acts 14).
The point is that God alone is to be adored. If you want to get the most out of the Eucharist you need to worship the Lord! The first three commandments given to Moses emphasized the necessity of worshiping God alone.
1.  I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Godsbefore me.
2.  You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3.  Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
This means that we must not worship false Gods. What are some of the false gods that can present themselves as “goods” at the Eucharist? They are the same today as they would have been for those who experienced Christ in the flesh:

1. Ideology: Liberal or Conservative

In Jesus’s time the Sadducees and the Pharisees held rival ideologies of how best to be a worshipper of God.Yet when God showed up in their midst in the person of Jesus,neither group could accept him — Jesus didn’t fit their image of God.
In our own time good and well-meaning people fall into the same temptation, one that masks itself as a good but is really a sin of pride. There are people who accept what the Holy Father

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teaches on some issues but reject what he says on others based not on whether it matches the truth of the gospels but rather on whether it matches their ideology or what they wish God was like.
When it comes to the worship of God, we must insure that it is God that we adore and not our own idea of who God is or should be.

2. Looking for a Human Savior

Jesus is our savior. If we are looking for a priest, a parish community, the perfect worship space, or excellent music — though all of these are good things — we risk making an idol out of these things and missing God, who is omnipresent. The effectiveness of the Eucharistic liturgy depends upon God, not us. Reverencing Jesus — no matter how bad the preaching, music, church building, or anything else that might be our personal pet peeve — puts our focus where it belongs. Those who tried to worship the apostles were scolded that this was not where their focus should be, but rather on God. Ministers both clerical and lay need to remember this: none of us is the savior; only Jesus holds that title.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 15

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel






From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 2


When Jesus came to visit the two sisters of Lazarus, the sister named Mary sat at Jesus’s feet and listened to him while the other sister, Martha, feverously worked in the kitchen to entertain their houseguest. Finally Martha came to Jesus and complained about the fact that Mary wasn’t helping her. Wandering minds, worriers, and a host of others don’t like what Jesus told Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful.Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42).
I was discussing the topic of this book with a priest and he told me that in his many years of presiding at the Eucharist in churches around the world he thought that the organist was the most distracted member of almost every parish, “always fiddling with the music for the next piece, kind of a visual mind wandering.” It is easy to be caught up in worrying about doing a good job to the point that we forget why we are doing the job. Jesus tells the Martha in all of us, “One thing is needful.”
When we come to the Eucharist, are we adoring God, or worshipping something else?



M
OUR SACRIFICE
.
AKE AN OFFERING OF ANY FALSE GODS
We give up anything that we think is more important than God.

G O D A L O N E
Over the entrance to the cloister of the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky are two simple words that are not simple at all in

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practice: God Alone. What really is necessary? God. What truly is worth worrying about? Our relationship with God.
Jesus said, “One thing is needful.”
If you want to get the most out of the Eucharist, adore God! Worship the One who can save you from whatever life may bring, even death!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 14

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel





From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 1 

O come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!          
— P SALM 9 5 : 6

The Baltimore Catechism was used as a primary teaching tool when I was a child. Even though I probably was taught with
 it for only the first three or four years of my Catholic education, like others before me I haven’t forgotten the simple lessons it taught me, like:
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Q. Who is God?
A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.
“All things”includes me and everyone else on the earth,along with everything else that I can perceive. God is the maker of all that is, and as such is the most important Being that exists. My very existence depends upon God.
It follows then,and this is from the modern Catechism of the Catholic Church,that “to adore God is to acknowledge,in respect and absolute submission, the ‘nothingness of the creature’ who would not exist but for God.To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself” (CCC 2097).
W H E N Y O U R M I N D WA N D E R S
One of the most frequent complaints that people who genuinely want to get more out of the Eucharist raise is that they find that their mind wanders at Mass. The cause of their distraction may be as simple a question as “Did I turn off the car lights?” or as weighty a concern as “I wonder how I’m going to pay the mortgage or rent this month?” It is understandable, given the hectic pace of life, that when we try to quiet ourselves in the presence of God we often find that our minds are cluttered with many distracting thoughts.
H ELP FROM THE FATHERS OF THE C HURCH
For often in the very sacrifice of praise urgent thoughts press themselves upon us, that they should have force to carry off or pollute what we are sacrificing in ourselves to God with weeping eyes. Whence when Abraham at sunset was offering up the sacrifice, he was troubled by birds of prey sweeping down on the carcasses, but he diligently drove them off,so that they might not carry off the sacrifice being offered up (cf. Gen. 15:11). So let us, when we offer a holocaust to God upon the altar of our hearts, keep it from birds of

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prey that the evil spirits and bad thoughts may not seize upon that which our mind hopes it is offering up to God to a good end.
— S T. G REGORY THE G REAT