One of my roles in the diocese is Chaplain to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. As you know, the BSA motto is “Be Prepared”. Not a bad bit of advice. Jesus is telling us that very thing in our Gospel this week. “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” (Lk 12:40)
Without proper preparation, life can be very difficult. So it is in the spiritual life. A question that comes to my mind is, do we prepare ourselves for what we do here each Sunday at Mass? Certainly if I don’t prepare, it would be obvious in the homily or in the presiding during Mass. But it isn’t just the priest that has to prepare for Mass, all of us do. Otherwise it is just something that we go to, not a prayer we participate in. How do we prepare for Mass? Read the Scriptures before going to Mass. They can be accessed online, phone apps or in a missal. Spend a few minutes in quiet to focus your thoughts on the Lord. Ask the Lord to help you open your mind and heart to his Word and presence.
There are prayers in the Roman Missal to help the priest in his final preparations for Mass. Let me share with you one of those and suggest that maybe it could become part of your preparation as well. It is a prayer attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas:
Almighty and ever-living God, I approach the sacrament of Your only-begotten Son Our Lord Jesus Christ, I come sick to the doctor of life, unclean to the fountain of mercy, blind to the radiance of eternal light, and poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth.
Lord, in your great generosity, heal my sickness, wash away my defilement, enlighten my blindness, enrich my poverty, and clothe my nakedness.
May I receive the bread of angels, the King of kings and Lord of lords, with humble reverence, with the purity and faith, the repentance and love, and the determined purpose that will help to bring me to salvation.
May I receive the sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood, and its reality and power.
Kind God, may I receive the Body of Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, born from the womb of the Virgin Mary, and so be received into His mystical body and numbered among His members.
Loving Father, as on my earthly pilgrimage I now receive Your beloved Son under the veil of a sacrament, may I one day see him face to face in glory, who lives and reigns with You forever. Amen.