It all begins before we even leave the house to come to Mass. First, we have to remember to keep the Eucharistic Fast by abstaining from food and beverages for at least an hour. Water and medicine are OK. Gum and coffee do break the fast. We should leave these sorts of things at the house. This is a small way to prepare to receive the most awesome Gift of Jesus himself into ourselves. This reminds us that everything we do is ordered toward and directed to this encounter with Christ.
How do I dress for Mass? Do I dress like I am going to encounter the living God? How would I dress to meet the most important human being, whoever we might think that is: the pope, the president, some other politician, the queen of England, the person interviewing me for a job? I have heard other Christians make comments that we sometimes dress for Mass like we are going to the beach. We have air conditioning. Shorts, tank tops and beachwear are not respectful enough for the King of Kings.
Remember the book by Matthew Kelly, Rediscover Catholicism?
He talked about reading the readings ahead of time and even bringing a journal. He challenged us to be ready to hear at least one thing that was going to improve my life this week.
Another non-verbal that speaks volumes is arriving early. This gives us time to prayerfully prepare to enter into the sacred mysteries where we will encounter the living God.
Once we arrive at the church in our cars, we should leave our cell phones in the car unless we are expecting an emergency. This is a good reminder that the time we spend in Church is meant for God and His people.
Our non-verbals are already speaking volumes and we have not even arrived at the door of church. We’ll pick up there next week.