The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer! Pope Paul VI
The heavens open and multitudes of angels come to assist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Growing up I knew of two kinds of prayer: quietly praying whatever I was thinking in my head, and group prayer where everyone held hands, we closed our eyes, and one person at a time saying a blessing.
When I converted to Catholicism at 18 years old, a whole new world of prayer exploded for me and it was pretty hard to keep up! I had to start from scratch learning the prayers everyone else grew up with. I didn’t know the full Our Father or a line of the Hail Mary! Not to mention all the prayers at Mass!
For a while I thought there were only two types of prayer: spontaneous and planned. As I’ve grown in my Catholic faith I’ve come to see that prayer is more than just words, and nowhere is that more evident than when we are at Mass. As Catholics, prayer vibrates through every part of our being, especially when we come to pray together in the Mass. If you’re like me, though, sometimes praying at Mass is harder than it looks.
Most Sunday’s you’ll find me in the foyer of the Church chasing my fifteen month old around and trying my hardest to listen, pray, and reflect. Some weeks it’s harder than others to pray at Mass (like when my daughter walked head on into the corner of a table and proceeded to smack her head against the brick floor). I remember a time when I dared to think that Mass was“boring”, let me tell you friends, that time is long past.
In this season of life I’ve learned that simply being at Mass is a prayer. We are all united as one, the Saints in heaven and the Church Militant on earth, praying in the presence of our savior through the liturgy of the word and Eucharist. It’s not just the words we say and the songs we sing; it’s the kneeling, the standing, the sitting, the offering of peace.
Every part of Mass reflects a different aspect of prayer, and all of it is valuable, even when your mind isn’t always present. It can be easy to breeze through the motions, without realizing that each physical movement is a prayer, to listen to the homily and forget that listening is as much a prayer as speaking. I challenge you to be more aware of the different forms of prayer the next time you attend Mass.
Throughout this series we’re going to be looking at a lot of different ways we as Catholic women pray. Some of them you may have never considered prayer before, like me. Others you know all too well, but may need some time to pause and reflect on them. If you, like me, have difficulty focusing on prayer at Mass, perhaps try keeping a Mass journal. You can see the page for Mass journaling on our homepage to find out more.
Reflect: List all the types of prayers at Mass. How can you be more attentive to them? How can you enter a more prayerful mindset at Mass?
Act: Look up some of the prayers used in the Mass. Find one that speaks to you and pray it during the week as well!