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There is often too much emphasis on the gathered people, in catechetical teaching about Mass. The smoke of incense rises towards the Godhead, as do the prayers of the People of God. The greatest prayer is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is Christ's prayer, offered from within our midst, from the altar, through the priest who offers the Holy Sacrifice. Teaching about the Mass, therefore, should be focused primarily on God. There should be vigilance, about childrens' textbooks.
We act like wise 'children of God', if we go to Mary, our Blessed Mother, seeking her help in approaching the Father through Christ, in prayer. She can help us to purify our intention, to clarify our thoughts, and to prepare a Gift for the Lord, the gift being the thoughts, words, offerings we offer each day, perhaps with a special degree of hope, patience, or long-suffering.
It is always worthwhile to pray for people who are apparently being swept away on a tide of sinful practices. By our intercessions, in Christ, we make it more likely that they will recognise the truth, that they are in danger of spiritual ruin.
She is only human; however, Our Lady can bring down Divine grace upon us. When the Blessed Virgin Mary reaches up in prayer to her son, to ask Him to help us, He hears her; and when her son turns to His Heavenly Father, in Heaven, the Father hears Him; so we can be confident that it is worthwhile, in every situation, to seek the help of our dear mother, the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God.
When a Christian prays to the Father through Christ only infrequently, not frequently as he ought, it's as if he had begun to build a wall; but each time he returns to it, he finds that a great part of it has collapsed, and cannot shelter him. Without frequent prayer, we can neither stay close to Christ nor lead a virtuous life.
God has revealed Himself to His people in ancient times; yet from the first Mass, Christ has been made Present amongst His friends; and it is His love, His prayer, and His Sacrifice on our altar, that seem like a pillar of fire: a fire of love that reaches as far as Heaven. We who love Him and offer ourselves with Him, can be sure that our prayers reach Heaven.
The Mass is at the heart of the life of a priest. A good priest is pleased to show the place where he offers the Holy Sacrifice daily on the altar; and he can be sure that all part hurts, memories, and failings can be offered up and 'burned up' in the great fire of love which is Christ's sacrificial prayer to the Father.
Those of us who lead busy lives need not feel guilty about longing for more time for peace: both for prayer and for relaxation. Christ Himself got up early, to go to a lonely place, to avoid the crowds, and sometimes stayed up all night, to pray. We need to ask, however, do we make sensible plans, and allow enough time for reflection and prayer?
Our prayers and penances can be offered in union with Christ, to help people in torment. As God looks upon the earth, He sees the wicked acts of brutality inflicted by human beings upon one another; but few are more cruel than the forcible removal of a child from its mother's body, as it is torn from the womb, and dragged away to die, by people who have power over others. It even happens that an abortion is followed by the sterilisation, against her will, of the unfortunate woman, denying her the hope of conceiving another child. Truly, these people are desperately in need of intercessions.
We might even risk our salvation if, on Sundays or holy days, we choose to miss Mass, in order to amuse ourselves, or for trivial reasons. Unless we are caring for the sick, for example, or are ourselves sick or without transport, it is to refuse to obey the First Commandment and the Church's command. It is to act as if we have no need of the graces that Christ offers, and no need of His prayer that we achieve Salvation.
There are three more things that many Catholics need to be told about the Mass - especially children. They know about the gathered Church, the Scriptures, and Holy Communion; it is tragic that so few have learned: 1) Jesus is made Really Present at the Consecration, 2) Through Him, we are made present to the One Sacrifice of Calvary, 3) Jesus, today, prays for us: He prays for our forgiveness and our Salvation.
All Christians should recognise the power of Christian prayer. To pray 'in the name of Jesus' - or 'through Christ our Lord' - is to pray with faith in our union with our one and only Saviour: the God-man Who sacrificed His life for us, but conquered death and sin by His death and R+D5182esurrection. It is also to pray with faith in His prayer, Who perpetually intercedes for us with our Heavenly Father. It's as if all the people, projects and situations I pray about, or intercede for, are swept up in one great prayer from my heart to Heaven, in the power of the Holy Spirit: Spirit of Jesus.
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