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May 05, 2022 275 Jody Weis, USA
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A Heart of Simplicity

We slide into our pew with one minute to spare, and I have a feeling that Mass is going to be a struggle for our family. By the time the priest finishes reading the Gospel, I’m frazzled and overwhelmed. Then during the Creed—as I am stifling down the urge to shout, “We are not taking any more trips to the bathroom!”—my busy three-year old licks the pew while my seven-year old tells me he is thirsty again and asks what con-sub- stan-tial means. Going to Mass is not always easy. I feel discouraged and even ashamed for not paying better attention at Mass. How am I supposed to worship God while juggling the many demands on my attention? The answer: a heart of simplicity.

I used to think the phrase “active participation at Mass” meant absorbing the deep meaning of every single word I hear. But in this season of life, having focus is a luxury. Now as I raise my children, I begin to understand that God does not hold back His invitation or His Presence just because my life gets messy. He loves me and accepts me as I am—mess and all—even amidst the chaos of a hectic Mass experience. If we remember this, you and I can take simple steps to prepare our hearts for God’s supreme gift of Love in the Eucharist.

Discover a Short Phrase

I am often overwhelmed by the number of words I hear at each Mass. My attention falters, and I struggle to follow many of the spoken parts. If you navigate this challenge too, know that you and I are still called to listen and be engaged at Mass. How? Simplify. Listen for a short phrase that catches your attention. Reflect on it. Repeat it. Bring it to Jesus and ask Him to show you why it is important. Hold this phrase in your heart throughout the Mass and let it become an anchor for your attention while you attend to your family responsibilities. Your open heart is a landscape for Christ’s grace.

Gaze With Love

Love does not always need words. Sometimes a simple glance can communicate an ocean of love. If words wash over you, engage your heart and direct your love to the Lord by focusing your eyes on a Crucifix or a Station of the Cross. Reflect on the details you see: Christ’s face, His crown of thorns, His bleeding heart. Each detail you intentionally take in draws your heart closer to Jesus and prepares you to receive Our Lord’s immense gift of Love in the Eucharist.

Bring Your Heart

If all else fails, bring yourself to Jesus as an offering of love. The Lord knows your intentions and your true desires. If you feel frazzled and unfocused by things beyond your control, you can still come before the Lord with a heart willing to worship Him, to receive Him and to love Him. Stir the affections of your heart and repeat “Here I am Lord. I choose you. Transform my heart!”

Our Lord rejoices every time we encounter Him at Mass, regardless of our circumstances. Jesus was human—He got tired, He got interrupted. Our Lord understands the mess of life! And even in the midst of it, He wants to give Himself to you in the Eucharist. So next time you go to Mass, give Jesus your willing heart, your “yes” to come before Him as you are. Christ’s love is bigger than whatever family chaos is happening in your pew.

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Jody Weis

Jody Weis is a wife, mother and teacher. She has been a spiritual director for more than 10 years. She and her family live in the Midwest, USA.

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