6 Ways to Encounter Jesus in Mass

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Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me. (Luke 22:19)

© Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.5

© Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.5

God’s presence is everywhere. Mass is my favorite place to come into his presence. Each part of the liturgy helps me experience a personal encounter with Jesus. Here’s the place to develop this relationship with Jesus and cultivate it in our children.

Christ is present in the assembly of the body of Christ in the pews, for he has promised “where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt 18:20)  So sing and pray knowing that Christ is among us, gathered as the body of Christ.

Christ is present in the priest or bishop who presides in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. When they vest before celebrating Mass the priests  “put on Christ” in a special way.

Christ is present in the word proclaimed in the readings. It is Christ himself, as the Incarnate Word, who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read.

The Real Presence of Christ is always manifested in the elements of bread and wine, which become his body and blood. The most intense manifestation of the presence of Christ is in the holy Eucharist.

Christ is present in the presence of the saints and angels adoring God around the altar with us, as Jesus offers his body and blood to God his Father in heaven for our sins.

Christ is present in the holy Eucharist that we receive in each of our individual bodies, so he is dwells inside us.

Each of these channels of his presence is real, even though different.  Each offers us a unique opportunity to recognize Christ with us, around us, within us.

We can prepare to receive his presence in the Eucharist through repentance and meditation before mass.  Fully participate in mass.  Surrender to the Lord at the consecration with expectant faith in God that he will fill you with his love to overflowing.

Burn in your mind the memory of that moment of communion with him.  Stay in his presence by returning to this touchstone during the day with songs of thanksgiving in your heart. Cherish him as you bring his presence everywhere you go.

Which of these manifestations of Jesus’ presence in the mass do you find most endearing?

Copyright 2014, Nancy Ward

Image © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.5

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About Author

Nancy Ward writes and speaks about Catholicism, her conversion and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and magazines. She loves to tell her faith story to Catholic groups and help others tell theirs. Her "Sharing YOUR Faith Story, a three-part seminar for evangelization," is available live or DVD. She contributed to The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion.

3 Comments

  1. Of course, the moment of Holy Communion is most special – Jesus could not be closer to me. I try not to let those moments pass by unnoticed, without love gushing all around me. But I also like to try to imagine what I cannot yet see and hear- all the angels and saints in adoration. Indeed, Mass is awesome!

  2. I always feel Christ present in the gathered body, especially during the singing. Sometimes I am distracted by needing to focus on my small children and keep them occupied, so I can’t fully focus my attention on the homily (or even the readings), but the songs stay with me in my head and heart even after we leave church.

    Of course, receiving Christ in the Eucharist is the most central way I connect with Him at Mass…and that is a blessing that I can take with me, also, even if I don’t manage to hear anything that is said during the rest of the Mass.

  3. I have no real problem with most of what Nancy says above, even though I would contend that there are primarily four ways to encounter Christ in the Mass. She lists them all, so I will only focus on the two I would remove from the list to avoid confusion.
    The last three points of encounter are where I would have issue:

    “The Real Presence of Christ is always manifested in the elements of bread and wine, which become his body and blood. The most intense manifestation of the presence of Christ is in the holy Eucharist.”

    ~I would agree that Christ is very present in the Eucharist, but not necessarily in the elements of bread and wine before the consecration by the priest. Before the transubstantiation the bread and wine are just bread and wine. We the people of the congregation offer these items as a sacrifice/ or gift on our part…Jesus is not there until the priest calls the Holy Sprit down. “…send your spirit upon these gifts…” I would eliminate this from her list for that reason alone…it confuses people who may not have a deep theological understanding of what the Eucharist is.

    “Christ is present in the presence of the saints and angels adoring God around the altar with us, as Jesus offers his body and blood to God his Father in heaven for our sins.”

    ~I think this is a theological quagmire that is best left alone. It is a nice image to have Christ with the Angels and Saints adoring God…but we have Christ both offering Himself for our sins on the altar, and being in Heaven with God…adoring the Father…with whom he is co-eternal and consubstantial (per the doctrine of the Trinity)…but where is the Holy Spirit in this image? While this is a nice image, it is best left out when putting together something that could be used to form others faith understanding.

    “Christ is present in the holy Eucharist that we receive in each of our individual bodies, so he is dwells inside us.”

    ~True, but this would be better presented above where she talks about Eucharist. Combining these two Eucharist comments would be best.

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