We all know the drill. We should go to Mass on Sunday. We should go to Mass on Holy Days. And really, in general, we should worship God more in our daily lives.
Now, consider this: stop “shoulding on yourself.” In a recent column Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, wrote that if we are too busy focusing on what we “should” do, then we miss out. When we are too busy worrying about whether we should be in the pew — we are actually missing out on engaging in the worship experience. So skip the “shoulds” and get right to worship. Don’t just think you should go to Mass more. Don’t just try to go to Mass more, be more involved in the worship experience.
Ways to worship well
Here are three ways to help you stick to worship:
- Liturgy of the Hours or The Divine Office: The Liturgy of the Hours is the official prayer of the Catholic Church. The liturgy consists of a collection of psalms, prayers, and readings that are prayed throughout the day at specific times (for example Morning and Evening Prayer). This form of worship is very flexible and you can pray individually or in a group. If you are looking for convenience, you can download mobile Apps for your smartphone or iPad that provide you with all the prayers for the day. Check out Catholic Calendar, Divine Office: Liturgy of the Hours on the go, or iMissal.
Centering Prayer: Centering Prayer is a form of silent meditation. If you like the phrase, “Be Still and Know that I am God,” then consider exploring the world of centering prayer. This prayer practice can be done both individually and in a group setting. It does require that one be able to sit in meditative silence for some time (without falling asleep!). Want to know more about Centering Prayer? Check out this resource.
Small Faith Group: Start a small faith group of your own! This could be a women’s group, a men’s group, a young adult group…really it could be any kind of group you would desire. The goal of a small faith group is to get some of your friends together each week to talk about scripture, faith, and life. This group can meet anytime throughout the week. You might go to daily Mass and meet as a community after or, go out for brunch after Sunday Mass and talk about your Mass experience. If you are an active go-getter or like group gatherings and discussion, this kind of prayer and worship is for you. Here’s a guide to help you get started.
From our “shoulds” to our “needs”
Catholics do not celebrate Mass because we should do it; rather we celebrate the Mass because we need to do it. Coming to the table, hearing scripture, and sharing a meal together are a vital part of our faith life. The Mass gives us the energy and nourishment to go out into the world and live the gospel life every other day of the week. So remember, skip the “shoulds” and determine what you need for a worship-filled life.