Yes, I know and so just say it, “Deacon, you do not know what my liturgy looks like and you haven’t heard the homilies.” Probably, but I think there is a way to look beyond the abuses and what may or may not be said by recollecting on the meaning of the ceremonies at Mass. Regardless of how they are celebrated the very actions themselves have meanings that can still enlighten our minds and stir our hearts for love and union with Him.
Fr. Leonard Goffine in his Explanation of the Epistles and gospels for the Sundays, Holidays and Festivals throughout the Ecclesial Year provides this remedy which,
…consists in placing before our minds that this holy Sacrifice is a commemoration of Christ’s sufferings, and of that great love which He has shown us.
By meditating on the ceremonies during the liturgy, one can literally call to mind the Paschal Mystery and, walk with our Lord along the via dolorosa as seen by the following:
- Goes to the altar.
- Commences Mass.
- Says Confiteor.
- Says Kyrie eleison.
- Says the Dominus vobiscum (Lord be with You).
- Reads the Epistle.
- Says the prayer before Gospel, Munda cor meum (Cleanse my heart and my lips, almighty God, that I may worthily proclaim your holy Gospel) at the middle of the altar.
- Reads the Gospel.
- Uncovers the chalice.
- Offers bread and wine.
- Covers the chalice.
- Washes his hands.
- Says the Orate Fratres (Pray, brethren that my sacrifice…).
- Prays Sursum Corde (Lift up your hearts).
- Says the Preface and the Sanctus.
- Makes the Commemoration for the living (Eucharistic Prayer I).
- Prays the Communicantes (In communion with those whose memory we venerate…).
- Blesses the bread and wine with the sign of the cross.
- Elevates the sacred Host.
- Elevates the chalice.
- Says the Anamnesis (Save us, Savior of the world…).
- Says aloud, Nobis quoque peccatoribus (To us also, your servants, who though sinners…).
- Says aloud, Pater noster (Our Father).
- Fractioning rite: Breaks and separates the Host.
- Let’s a small portion of the sacred Host fall into the chalice.
- Says the Agnus Dei.
- Administers holy Communion.
- Purifies the chalice.
- Prepares the chalice again.
- Says the Dominus vobiscum (Lord be with you).
- Says the Prayer after Communion.
- Says the last Dominus vobiscum.
- Gives the benediction to the people.
- Says the Ite Missa est (Go forth, the Mass is ended).
- Goes to the Mount of Olivet.
- Begins to pray.
- Falls down and sweats blood.
- Is brought to Caiphas and there, three times denied by Peter.
- Looks at Peter and converts him.
- Is brought to Pilate.
- Is taken to Herod and mocked.
- Is taken back to Pilate and again mocked.
- Is shamefully exposed.
- Is cruelly scourged.
- Is crowned with thorns.
- Is declared innocent by Pilate.
- Is shown by Pilate to the people with the words, Ecce homo.
- Is mocked and spit upon.
- If preferred instead of Barabbas and condemned to crucifixion.
- Carries the cross to Mount Calvary.
- Meets His Mother and other pious women.
- Is nailed to the cross.
- Is raised on the cross.
- Sheds blood from the five wounds.
- See His afflicted Mother at the cross.
- Prays on the cross for men.
- Says the seven last words.
- Gives up His spirit and dies.
- His soul descends to Sheol.
- Is acknowledged on the cross as the Son of God by many bystanders.
- Is laid in the sepulcher.
- Is anointed by pious women.
- Arises from the dead.
- Appears to His mother and the disciples.
- Teaches for forty days.
- Takes leave of His disciples and ascends to heaven.
- Sends down the Holy Ghost.
- Sends the apostles into all parts of the world to preach the gospel.
This is a small remedy and takes some practice but will bear a great fruit with practice. The Church intended us to be able to participate whether we understand the words or even all the theology:
The Liturgy is designed to bring about in all those who make up the worshiping assembly a participation of the faithful, namely in body and in mind, a participation fervent with faith, hope, and charity” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 18).
In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people of God’s own possession and a royal priesthood, so that they may give thanks to God and offer the unblemished sacrificial Victim not only by means of the hands of the priest but also together with him, and so that they map learn to offer their very selves. (GIRM, nos. 95).
I hope this is helpful and may be a beginning to re-engage your heart and mind at Mass. Or, if you are looking for other tips, check out The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Distractions, well, they are the work of Old Scratch himself – rebuke them and send back to hell where they came from.