I’ll admit to not always being 100% attentive and engaged at Mass.
Ironically, the Collect prayer – positioned at the beginning of the liturgy precisely for the purpose of gathering us (me) in – is an easy one for me to blow off. My mind is often still racing ahead (to what’s on my schedule today) or stumbling along behind (perhaps over grudges I’m nursing or things I’ve left undone).
But every once in a while, grace happens—and I do manage to be ‘in the moment’ when something simple, and yet stunningly profound, happens at Mass. I count yesterday’s Collect as just such a moment.
I heard it, read it. Then read it again:
O God, protector of those who hope in you,
without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance your mercy upon us
And grant that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to the things that ever endure.
In just 59 words or so, the prayer provided a pretty good summary of why I go to Mass: To seek God’s protection and mercy; to say thanks for all the good things I have been given; to grow in my understanding of what is passing in this life, and what endures; and to embrace (‘hold fast’ to) the grace that helps to make my understanding active…a means of carrying Christ’s light back out into the world.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.