I go to Sunday morning 7am mass. I like that the day is still quiet and I’m starting it off with God as my focus. I like that the first words I speak are at mass. I don’t mind that I find outfits to wear via my phone’s flashlight so that I don’t wake others up… until those times when I discover that I wasn’t paying close enough attention and that what I put on was inside-out.
Just before communion I was kneeling and for the first time I looked down at my hands and noticed the sleeves of my sweater. “Dang it!” I thought. “It’s inside out!” Immediately I realized that of course it has been inside-out this whole time. People probably noticed. How embarrassing! I started to get worked up that people have been looking at me this whole time and that my sweater was on wrong. What were they thinking about me?
But then I stopped. “Does my inside out sweater really matter?” No. If I had to pick between wearing an inside-out sweater and my salvation I would pick my salvation. …Sure, that’s kind of an intense place to take my wardrobe predicament, but the thought immediately stopped all my worries about it and I focused back on the altar and the preparation of the Eucharist.
I can’t let small things like that be a distraction from what matters. How easily though these distractions can pop up and make us lose focus. This time it was my sweater, but what will try to distract me today or tomorrow? I need to not look at myself and instead keep my eyes ever on God and what matters to Him. So it was a small but meaningful victory on Sunday when I was only distracted for about 10 seconds.
But perhaps I had this small victory because I have been so intentional about being at mass. I don’t “go” to mass. I “am” at mass. How I have done this is:
- I go by myself [which I need to change since I do want to start going to mass as a family…]
- I only let myself look at 1 of 3 things during mass – (1) the priest or lector, (2) the tabernacle, or (3) the Our Lady of Perpetual Help painting.
- I do my best to try to truly feel the words I speak and sing and not just recite known prayers or songs. [If you don’t currently do this start with really proclaiming “Thanks be to God!” at the end of mass – perhaps you are happy mass is over and you are cheering for its end or perhaps you are just so joyful you got to celebrate mass that you really feel thankful – either way try that and note how wonderful it makes you feel!]
These things keep me centered on only what is happening at mass and allow me to really be in “communion” and “community”. I love it. And it helps me handle when inside-out sweaters and other distractions pop up – because I just return to my focus on God and I stay centered.