1. Put God First
Schedule your Mass hour when planning your Sunday, rather than hoping for “free time” which may never come. Make yourself available for the whole broadcast, instead of stopping and starting to fit around your other priorities. Resist the temptation to make yourself “Lord” of the Mass.
“The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.” (CCC 2172)
2. Prepare your Prayer Space
Look at the area where you plan to watch the broadcast. Is it suitably quiet and tidy so you can pray without distraction? Can you enhance the atmosphere, eg., light a candle or dim the room lights?
3. Prepare your body
Physical circumstances put us in the right frame of mind. Before turning on the broadcast, satisfy your body’s needs (e.g. bathroom, hunger). Avoid snacking during the broadcast.
While you need not put on “Mass clothes”, simple actions such as washing your face and changing into a clean shirt can help you feel refreshed and ready to pray.
Pray the Mass by making the appropriate hand gestures (eg. signs of the Cross) even if you do not adopt the bodily postures (eg. standing for the Gospel) or sing the hymns.
4. Be Present
Resist the urge to multitask. Close the other apps on your computer, especially instant messaging. Free yourself from the slavery of always needing to feel “connected”. This is your time to connect with Christ. Similarly, reject the temptation to be “efficient” by watching Mass while doing the household chores.
Prayer “is an absolute waste of time, it is a sharing into the waste of time which is the interior life of the Godhead… [God] is love, and his life is not like the life of the worker or artist but of lovers wasting time with each other uselessly.” (Fr. Herbert McCabe OP)
Family needs (e.g. care of infants or the elderly) are legitimate reasons for pausing the Mass broadcast, but do return as soon as possible.
5. Spiritual Communion
Since you cannot receive Holy Communion, pray a Spiritual one. The prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori is recommended; but feel free to express its sentiments in your own words:
“My Jesus, I believe that you are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.”
While the suspension of public Masses is a tragic necessity, this is also our opportunity to stand in solidarity with Christians around the world who do not have the chance to keep the Sabbath holy, or to attend Sunday worship. Let us pray fervently as a diocese for an end to the COVID-19 epidemic and a swift resumption of public Mass.