If you just sit around before Mass waiting, you are wasting your time. Prepare for Mass with prayer.
Ask Jesus to help you to be a fully present as He is present at this Mass.
Ask Him to help you be open to receiving everything He wants to give you at this Mass.
Form a Mass intention; that is, choose a person, group, or need you would like the graces of your participation in this sacrifice to be applied to.
After the Openning Prayer / Before the Readings
Shouldn’t we expect to find the incarnate the Word of God in the Word of God we proclaim at Mass? Look for Jesus shinng brilliantly in today’s first reading from Isaiah.
Millions of people purchased and “studied” the DaVinci Code even though it gave no real insights into Christ. Imagine if there were a book out which reputable archeologists claimed contained the actual prayers of Jesus and Mary? Would you read this book? Would you incorporate its prayers into your own devotions? This book really does exist… it is the Book of Psalms, which pious Jews in the time of Jesus and Mary knew by heart. Today we will be praying one of these psalms of Jesus and Mary and I invite you to unite your prayer to theirs.
In the second reading we will hear the preaching of St. Paul and in today’s gospel, the words written by St. Luke. Let us not think that they words are merely adressed to ancient Christians. When the quill was put to papyrus to pen these words, the Holy Spirit saw you here. If you listen and are open to the Spirit, He will speak to you through these words.
After the Gospel / Before the Creed
Have you ever written or received a love letter? I believe it was St. Catherine of Siena (one of the three female doctors of the Church) who taught that we should say the creed like a love letter, as either one we are sending or one we have received. A love letter reflects the feeling of the lover and contains truths about the beloved. Let us call this to mind when we say the Gloria, too.
After the Presentation of the Gifts / Before the Eucharistic Prayer
During the Eucharistic prayer, don’t spectate, actively participate. You have not come to watch the priest pray for you, but to unite your prayer to His. When he prays for the Church, pray for the Church within yourself. When he prayes for the dead, pray for the dead, too. The priest is the head and you are the body. Every member of the body should make the prayers of the mouth their own.
During Mass, look at the person you are praying to. Most of the prayers at Mass are addressed to the Father, while a few are addressed to the Son. When we are praying to the Father, raise your eyes up to Him in Heaven or close your eyes to address the He who cannot be seen. When Jesus is on the altar, look at Him with attentive love.
Put yourself and those you care for in the chalice, to be transformed like the wine and offered with Christ.
After Communion / Before the Closing Prayer
Take this moment to tell Jesus “thank you” for giving you so awesome a gift. It’s the least we can do.