Are you missing the Church? 

I still recall that time before the lockdown, when the priest announced there wouldn’t be masses for sometime. And I was disappointed. But then like the saying goes, 

God will make a way, when there seems to be no way! 

God came alive in every home, on every smartphone or laptop screen. He made every bedroom a domestic church, and anointed every place as a place of prayer! 

Do you sometimes feel as if the online mass does not bring you the consolation and strength you seek? I would then share with you some tips to making the most of your Online Mass experience. The trick is that it involves making a small self-check every time you attend: 

1. Preparing for the Mass – 

I always have a bath before I begin a Mass. I know I’m at home, but I’m preparing to meet the Lord Jesus all the same. So, that’s the first step. Prepare for the Online Mass just as you would for any Mass in person… not with a blob of curry in the middle of your shirt and strands of hair spilling from your messy bun. 

Watch the mass live. That effort you make towards being there when He makes himself available for you will make a huge difference. So, when the Host and Chalice are raised, they are actually being raised at the same time you are watching it being raised, is a different feeling altogether. 

Prepare the place. Not with charging wires tangled around your computer. Ensure that your altar is an altar at all times, and then visiting it to set up your YouTube Mass is going to really feel like a Mass. 

2. Participate in the Mass – 

So, no couches. Couches out of the way. Get the most uncomfortable chair, according to how much you can bear, so that it feels like prayer. Otherwise you will be asking your parish priest for a couch when you start going back to the church. 

Ensure you have ample space to kneel when the Eucharistic prayer of the Mass begins. If you want, you could set aside something you intend to use as charity on your altar. (you can give it later). 

Ensure that you have good privacy so you don’t feel awkward to stand for the Gospel acclamation and other times, and respond after each prayer. Say Amen aloud, sing along, you can even get your guitar, see you can join the choir too. 

That is why go to your room where your Father sees you in private, unless you are hearing the Mass as a family. 

3. Distractions Away- 

Do not be bothered by notifications that appear on your screen, the phone ringing, and so on. Or better yet, switch them off. Do not stop to check if the meat on the stove is cooked enough. Imagine you are really in a church. 

Finally, pakoras and coffee are out of the way. The only meal you have in church is the Eucharist. So, let’s maintain the same holiness at home. 

4. The Spiritual Communion – 

I admire the efforts that many priests put into making this part of the Mass meaningful. Most of them have the prayer displayed on the screen, a lot of them read the prayer along with you, there is light background music played, and some even hold the Host up throughout the prayer.

All this is so that you make and get the most of this most important part of the Mass. It is understood that this happens during the latter part of the mass, and unlike the church where you are aware of the many faces around you to keep your behaviour at its best. But at home, one could get bored and distracted, and then there’s the fact that you are not even going to walk in a line for that bit of movement you need to receive the Eucharistic Lord. But do not let this spoil your Spiritual Communion. 

Here’s an important tip, which really helps me a lot. To relive your church experience, just walk up to your screen during this time. Kneel down if you feel like and venerate the Sacred Host. And then walk back to your chair and make a prayer on your knees with Jesus in your heart just like you would at a real Mass. In this way, the Spiritual Communion can become as personally effective as the real thing in these difficult circumstances caused by the Covid 19 pandemic) 

5. Be Attentive – 

I know it’s so easy to get distracted when you are at home, especially during the sermon. There is no one to judge you when you are not even looking at the screen, and the priest can’t hear you so he won’t feel bad, but we all know how a well-heard sermon can make a huge difference to the Mass. 

Here’s a trick I found to handle this. Write. Yes, write. Look at it this way, enjoy the privacy because there is no one to laugh at you! And by the end of the month, you will realize how much you learnt from the sermons you have been writing in this lockdown. 

6. Try to Be Regular – 

I know we all like variety and that is good. And while you do visit different churches on your screen, try to have that one church you are faithful to. Ensure that you are regular to it. There is a lot you can get from being faithful to a priest, or a church. It’s like meeting a counselor. 

Try to be there for the mass at the same time each day, just like we would normally do. It shows faithfulness to God, and to His Holy Sacrifice. 

Enjoy the Online Mass

And that my friends, is going to make a huge difference to your online mass experience. And before you know it, your bedroom is not going to be a bedroom but a church. 

Online masses have benefits of their own. You see, you can choose the church you want. You can go all the way to Potta in Kerala for a healing mass or the US to celebrate the Mass with Fr. Mike Schmitz. You can meditate as much as you like after the mass because you don’t have a bus to catch and head home. 

And then, you get to participate in all the feasts held over the country, because this time, the Bom Jesu feast was online, Vailankanni feast was online and I’m sure the feast at Viveknagar is going to be online too. And not to forget our dear Redemptorist Media Center where we are challenged and inspired by incredible preaching of the Word everyday. Don’t miss it! 

Authored by Renata Fernandes

Renata is an experienced content writer with a Masters Degree in English from St. Agnes College, Mangalore. She is currently a freelance writer and her hobbies are reading and hagiography.