It’s good to make a list to prepare for important events and what could be more important than the time we spend with God, our creator? I have heard lapsed Catholics say that their departure from regular Mass attendance was the result of “not getting anything out of it.” I usually respond, “What do you bring to the Mass?” A good preparation plan will most always turn a negative or unfulfilling experience into a satisfying, positive one. With this in mind, I offer the following checklist to prepare for liturgy:
1. TAKE ENOUGH TIME . . .
a. to clean and dress yourself appropriately (and others under your care) for meeting the Lord and other worshipers;
b. to arrive BEFORE liturgy begins to get settled;
c. use bathrooms before arriving, not during liturgy;
2. PLAN ON . . .
a. reading the scriptures in advance;
b. an examination of conscience before arriving, since Eucharistic celebrations begin with an introductory rite, normally a penitential rite, an opportunity for reconciliation;
c. receiving communion, since Eucharist is a holy meal (the Church offers a preparation program for non-Catholics);
3. BRING WITH YOU . . .
a. nothing that will sound off, distracting you or others;
b. a contribution that represents a planned, proportionate, sacrificial offering in thanksgiving to God;
c. a hearty appetite to eat and drink at God’s banquet table since food and beverages during liturgy are not appropriate;
d. your focused attention;
In a later submission, I will address more directly the needs of children.