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Lasting Gifts to God and to Ourselves
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The gifts of the Magi - gold, frankincense, and myrrh - were expensive and very significant physical gifts. But they pale in comparison to the spiritual gifts we can give our Infant, Crucified, and Risen Lord -- if we would but choose to do so.
What great gifts we shower upon our Lord when we act in these ways!
The gifts I am about to describe, when given to our Lord in love and gratitude, weekly (daily if possible), will not only please Him, but will result in our being united more intimately with the Prince of Peace.
What follows are some concrete suggestions as to what each of us can and should do every time we attend Mass, if we are serious about loving God as He deserves and as we ought. We don't need any one's permission to do any of these things.
We will just do these things out of love and reverence and let God do the rest:
Read and ponder the Mass readings several times before arriving for Mass.
Enter the Church in reverent silence, making the sign of the cross reverently, slowly and meditatively as you bless yourself with Holy Water.
Gaze upon the tabernacle, silently thank God for being there and genuflect with reverence and thanksgiving for such a great gift.
Kneel down and pray in silence in preparation for Mass.
Maintain reverent silence from the minute you enter the nave of the Church until you exit it at the end of Mass.
Pray the Mass responses slowly and reverently.
Briefly examine your conscience prior to reciting the Confiteor, knowing that by doing so your venial sins will be forgiven.
Do as others have suggested. Don't waste a prayer opportunity when the priest says "Lord Have Mercy, Christ have mercy! Lord Have mercy!" Add your prayers silently. For example:
Lord have mercy (add ":on those of my family who have left Your Church, or "for my aunt who is battling cancer," or "for those for whom I promised to pray" etc.)
Christ have mercy (add "on me a sinner, or â€˝our priests and bishops," or "for those who are alone and abandoned" etc.)
Lord have Mercy (add "on those who will die today,"or "for those who will have nothing to eat today" etc.)
When Father elevates and offers first the bread and then the wine, silently place your prayer intentions on the paten and in the chalice, uniting those prayers with all the Masses being celebrated that day throughout the world. (For example, "Lord, I place my soul and the souls of all my family and loved ones on this paten and in this chalice, begging for the salvation of all our souls".
When Father lifts up the Consecrated Host and Chalice, look up and see the crucified Christ.
As you approach the altar to receive Holy Communion:
Ask the Blessed Mother, Michael the Archangel and your Guardian Angel to remain at your side as Jesus is placed on your tongue, that each of them may be a source of comfort and consolation to our Lord. Ask the Blessed Mother (as Father Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D. recommended) to make up for all that is lacking in your preparation, appreciation, devotion, love, response and thanksgiving for such a great and undeserved gift of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
Approach the altar and Holy Communion as if it were your very first Holy Communion, as if it were your only Communion, or as if it were your last Communion.
Kneel down and receive Holy Communion on the tongue.
Upon Returning to your pew:
Kneel down in silence and adore the God who is physically within you.
Tell Him how much you love Him.
Thank Him for such a great gift.
Ask Him for the grace to trust Him at all times and under all circumstances.
Ask Him for that which your heart most desires since this is the most efficacious time to pray (cure for Mom's cancer, restoration of health to my son, safe travels for your family, etc.)
As Father or the Deacon purify the ciboriums and patens, ask God to purify your mind, heart and soul. Ask the Divine Physician to heal you and make you whole, to remove from you all that is sinful and unpleasing in His sight, and to make you a saint.
At the end of Mass, don't rush out the Church doors. Jesus remains physically within us for about 10 minutes after we receive Him. So, stay awhile and talk to Him, Heart to heart.
When you do exit the Church, do so silently and reverently, postpone chatter with friends and neighbors until after you have left the nave of the Church.
Promise God that you will return and visit Him sometime during the week and prior to next Sunday's Mass.
What great gifts we shower upon our Lord when we act in these ways! All other gifts pale in comparison to loving our Lord as He deserves and as we ought!
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