Q. Hey, I need some advice about this going to church thing: I always feel uninspired after every Mass, the sermons are dull and uninspiring, I feel like I just go to church to stand sit kneel and try and pay attention. What can I do to be motivated to go because I feel there’s no point at this juncture?
A. Well actually there are three points.
First, you don’t get much FROM the Mass because you don’t put much INTO the Mass. The Mass in this way, is like a marriage: you will not get out of a marriage what you don’t put in. Marriage is not a magic box from which you can endlessly draw out love, understanding, companionship, virtue, etc. if you don’t put these things INTO it. So too with the Mass.
Look at it this way: the Mass is a family meal, a banquet. Banquets and family meals are not just nutrition procedures but social events – family events. And just like any family meal, even though the father of the household may have sufficient food on the table, if we come to that meal with minds, hearts and hands empty, we will leave that meal the same exact way: stomachs full perhaps, but minds, hearts and hands empty. That is, we leave bored, uninspired and unmotivated. There can only be an exchange, a dialogue, a conversation where BOTH parties give and receive, listen and speak.
So every Mass is a chance for us to dialogue, to exchange, to converse. But this implies we literally must bring something to the table.
Q. Ummmm… Well…
A. Don’t answer out loud. Examine yourself and think about it… Make some private resolutions of your own.
Q. Ok… But what kind of things can we bring to the Mass?
A. Well, quite frankly anything and everything that we would bring to a family meal: our concerns, worries, doubts, joys, successes, failures, ambitions, requests, apologies, hopes, things that made us laugh… Everything! Our whole selves! And we share these with our Lord who is also present at the Mass and who also gives us His everything, His whole self.
This is why in the Church there is a tradition of spending a few minutes in total silence after receiving Holy Communion. Those are a few minutes (usually 10 or so minutes after Mass ends) to exchange, to dialogue, to converse.
That’s the first point. Second point next time…