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Engaged or Disengaged?

What is the difference between people who participate in Mass and those who just sit quietly and basically disengage from what is going on around them? Not just the outwardly obvious difference, but the difference in the interior spiritual realm is what I am referring to. What if I told you that the biggest difference was that those who participate fully and intentionally are far less likely to fall away from the faith; which also means that those who do not engage are far more likely to fall away?

Now the real question is about cause and effect. Is it the case that those who are diligent are the ones who participate, or is it the case that those who participate are thereby enabled to stay in the faith? According to church history, it is the latter. Yes, it is true that those who are more committed are more likely to participate, but the effect is primarily in the other direction.

When we engage fully with the Mass (which is a Divine creation, not a man-made invention!), by making the verbal responses, singing along with the chants, praying in heart when the Priest prays, and being attentive to all that is going on at the altar, it impacts us. It changes us and enables us to grow in holiness.

If, however, we disengage, then it is like taking a bite of something and then spitting it out. You never get the nutrition, you cannot do more than experience (at the most) a superficial enjoyment of it. It is the heart and mind action of allowing oneself to be drawn into the Mass that has the greatest influence on our spiritual well being. Yes, there are unavoidable distractions that occur (kids cry, books drop, people sneeze) but when we choose to let ourselves be distracted, that is a willful rejection of the Mass.

Let us each make certain that we do not allow the devil to take us away from the Mass. Let us do what is necessary before we even enter the Church to make sure that we "avoid the near occasion of sin" and prepare ourselves, in body and soul, to give ourselves fully to Christ our Lord.


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