Posts by: Stephanie

What are we supposed to DO during Mass?

What are we supposed to DO during Mass?

Father Dwight Longenecker over at Standing on my Head received a question that has likely been asked by countless Catholics:

What are we, the faithful (read: not clergy) supposed to do during the Mass? … As a layman, I know I am supposed to prepare myself before receiving the body and blood, but apart from not thinking on how fast I can get back home to watch my sports team, I’m at a loss as to what I am supposed to be preparing for. Receiving Jesus into myself obviously, but what does that mean in real life? I guess what I’m searching for is some kind of concrete, step-by-step explanation on what I am supposed to do. Something low on poetic language and high on basic, everyday language instructions. Or at least guidelines. Obviously one is often distracted, but it would be good to learn what I should be trying to do.

Fr. Longenecker offers some basic suggestions – such as arriving early and joining in with the words and hymns of the liturgy – before getting to the heart of the matter. He writes:Read more

A Simple Prayer for When Life is Rushed

A Simple Prayer for When Life is Rushed

There are times when life is just busy. The days are packed and it can seem difficult to keep up with all the demands on our time. It is during these times that our relationship with God often suffers, as prayer can often be the first thing to drop off our to-do list. Even priests and religious can feel the pressure of a hectic life. French priest and author Henri Nouwen wrote in his book Making All Things New:

Our lives often seem like over-packed suitcases bursting at the seams. In fact, we are almost always aware of being behind schedule. There is a nagging sense that there are unfinished tasks, unfulfilled promises, unrealized proposals. There is always something else that we should have remembered, done, or said.

If this sounds like your life, Nouwen also wrote a simple prayer to help maintain a stillness of heart and remain connected with God even in the busy seasons of life. Write this prayer down and put it on the bathroom mirror, by the kitchen sink, or in your daily planner as a way to stay peaceful and close to Our Lord when life feels overwhelming.

Dear God,

Speak gently in my silence. When the loud outer noises of my surroundings, and the loud inner noises of my fears keep pulling me away from you, help me to trust that you are still there even when I am unable to hear you.

“Come to me, all you who are burdened, and I will give you rest…for I am gentle and humble of heart.”

Let that loving voice be my guide.


Catholic Answers to Lenten Questions

Catholic Answers to Lenten Questions

The season of Lent starts tomorrow, and is a beautiful time to prepare our hearts to commemorate Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. This time of year, we get many questions about why Catholics do certain things during Lent, and where certain traditions come from. If you have a question about Lent (or anything related to Catholicism), we encourage you to ask your questions on any of our live call-in shows, like Catholic Answers Live ( 3:00-5:00 p.m. Pacific) or The Patrick Madrid Show (6:00-9:00 a.m. Pacific).

But, if you need information right now, the links below from Catholic Answers address some commonly-asked Lenten questions. We hope it will help you grow in understanding and appreciation of our rich Catholic heritage.

How is Easter Sunday determined? Palm Sunday? Ash Wednesday?
Why do Catholics practice fasting and abstinence during Lent?
Why do Catholics eat fish on the Fridays of Lent?
How should senior citizens observe fasting and abstinence during Lent?
Does abstinence from meat include animal byproducts, such as eggs, cheese and milk?

For a quick but comprehensive explanation of Ash Wednesday and Lent, Jimmy Akin wrote two articles for the National Catholic Register last year, which are a great resource:

9 things you need to know about Ash Wednesday
9 things you need to know about Lent