The How To Book of the Mass is also a great resource for inquirers and RCIA sessions.
You can find more information at this page.
You can find more information at this page.
The encounter with Jesus that takes place in every celebration of the Eucharist calls us to conversion. The more we recognize Jesus in the opening of the Scriptures and the Breaking of the Bread the more this becomes apparent. When Jesus first encountered Peter fishing in the Sea of Galilee the Lord gave Peter some fishing advice. Peter humored the Nazarene and found that the catch of fish was beyond anything that he had ever experienced before. This made him realize that Jesus was unlike anyone that he had ever encountered. So what did Peter do? He made a two-fold confession: "Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord," (Luke 5:8). In recognizing the divinity of Jesus, he also was made aware of his own sinfulness. What did Jesus do? He told him, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men," (Luke 5:10). Then Peter followed the Lord.
The journey that Peter set out on that day is similar to the journey that each of us takes after our Baptism and like Peter we may sin again whenever we fail to remember who God is and who we are. Peter was sure that he would be willing to die for Christ even when Jesus told him that he would end up denying him not once but three times. The Lord was right, Peter was wrong. We too fall, time and again after numerous resolutions that we will never sin again. In a matter of seconds we are passing judgment on someone or even worst--once again falling into sin.
The two-fold confession that we make at every Eucharist can change our lives if we speak these words with heartfelt conviction. When we confess our belief in God, we are saying that it is God whom we trust, not our sins and failings, not what others think about us but God alone.
The letter to the Hebrews draws a strong connection
between the cross and prayer. Because every moment of our
earthly existence is threatened by death, and we know neither the
day nor the hour when that existence will come to an end, we,
too, need to cry out to the God who can save us. Like Moses, we
need the help of our fellow Christians to hold up our arms when
they grow tired. We, too, need the help of the Holy Spirit to
make up for what is lacking in our prayer.
Every Mass begins with a chance for us to remind ourselves of our own plunging into the waters of Baptism and throughout the Mass we recall all that separates us from God, namely our sins and our idols. When the priest or deacon asks us to call to mind our sins, we should do that. We should pay attention to what pops into our heads at that moment. God may reveal to you an area of sinfulness (something that is separating you from perfect communion with Him) at that moment. Don't be surprised at what comes up but place it before God at this moment of the Mass so that He can transform it. Recall that God is your savior, not yourself. Allow God to save you from your sins in His mercy. Believe that God's mercy is greater than your sins.
Since the time of early Christianity, there have been forms
of prayer that use breathing as a cadence for prayer. The Jesus
Prayer and the Rosary, along with various forms of contemplative
prayer, are all variations of this type of prayer. The real prayer
behind all of these methods is the prayer of surrender: “Into
your hands I commend my spirit.” This was the prayer that Jesus
prayed to the Father from the cross.
Though confession alone does not remove the temporal penalty
of sin, healing still is possible by God’s grace. Prayer, reading the
Scripture, giving alms, doing good works all are acts that have
had indulgences attached to them by the Church. By obtaining
an indulgence, the Christian receives healing from the temporal
penalty of even the gravest sins, reducing or eliminating altogether
the time of purification needed in purgatory (CCC 1471).
Ideally, the Christian is motivated to perform these spiritual
exercises not from fear of punishment but out of love for God.
As we read in the preceding passage, St. Paul tells the Ephesians
to offer themselves as a spiritual sacrifice with Christ, who has
paid the debt of our sins. Seeing Christ on the cross and meditating
on his love for us should help us to understand how much
When our Lord gave the disciples on the road to Emmaus the bread that He had blessed and broken, "he vanished out of their sight" (Luke 24:31). It was then that they recognized Him. We receive the Lord as they did in receiving the Eucharist. Now, at the moment that He is within us, we too should reflect, as they did, on the Scriptures that He has opened to us during this Mass, especially on what has made our "hearts burn."
In our consumer-minded society, we can miss the treasure that we receive if we treat it like one more thing to "get" and then go on to the next thing. Our Lord is not a "thing." He is God, who has deigned to come intimately into our lives. We should reflect on His Presence within us and ask what He would have us do.
When our earthly life ceases, we will be welcomed into God’s
kingdom to the degree that we made him the Lord of our lives.
For many of us, that will mean some time along the purgative
way, learning to release all of our demands upon God. God has
found his rightful place in our hearts when we realize that whatever
he wills is best for us.
The Gospels show that the gaze of Mary varied depending upon the circumstances of life. So it will be with us. Each time we pick up the holy beads to recite the Rosary, our gaze at the mystery of Christ will differ depending on where we find ourselves at that moment.
Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) [Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 10].
As we pray the Rosary, then, we join with Mary in contemplating Christ. With her, we remember Christ, we proclaim Him, we learn from Him, and, most importantly, as we raise our voices in prayer and our hearts in contemplation of the holy mysteries, this “compendium of the Gospel” itself, we are conformed to Him.