Putting Heart and Mind Into Liturgical Prayer

A typical Smartphone has multiple communication technologies incorporated into its design—Wi-fi, a cellular network, Bluetooth, USB, etc.—and is surrounded by a world bristling with information and looking to establish a connection. Often it’s a challenge to harness the power of those technologies in order to capitalize on everything that can be communicated.

In the liturgy something similar occurs: the liturgy seeks to communicate on various levels with symbols, Scripture, prayers, gestures, and rites, but, most importantly, grace, and it’s a challenge to draw all the spiritual fruit we can from not just attending the Mass, but participating in it. It’s a world of spiritual goods just waiting to be tapped into.

Since the Second Vatican Council the Church has endeavored to help the faithful participate more actively in Mass by fostering “active participation.” As the first constitution of the Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Conclium, described it:
But in order that the liturgy may be able to produce its full effects, it is necessary that the faithful come to it with proper dispositions, that their minds should be attuned to their voices, and that they should cooperate with divine grace lest they receive it in vain(cf. 2 Cor 6:1).

Pastors of souls must therefore realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects (SC 11; see SC 14ff.).

Pope Benedict XVI in the post-synodal exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis noted that this active participation was not just a matter of doing something during Mass, but of something more profound:
The Second Vatican Council rightly emphasized the active, full and fruitful participation of the entire People of God in the eucharistic celebration. Certainly, the renewal carried out in these past decades has made considerable progress towards fulfilling the wishes of the Council Fathers. Yet we must not overlook the fact that some misunderstanding has occasionally arisen concerning the precise meaning of this participation. It should be made clear that the word “participation” does not refer to mere external activity during the celebration. In fact, the active participation called for by the Council must be understood in more substantial terms, on the basis of a greater awareness of the mystery being celebrated and its relationship to daily life (Sacramentum Caritatis, 52).

The goal of Finding the Plug is to help you “find the plug” in order to make a vital connection in Mass: to help you put heart and mind into liturgical prayer in order to capitalize on all the graces it seeks to communicate.

Each installment of Finding the Plug is a spiritual reflection on one prayer from of the Ordinary of the Mass: the liturgical prayers we say daily or every Sunday when the Mass is celebrated, from the entrance to the dismissal.

May Finding the Plug help you achieve “a greater awareness of the mystery being celebrated and its relationship to daily life” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 52).

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