How to Get More out of Mass

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 22

From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 9


A prayer that is recited by those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours on every major feast day of the Church is an example of the kind of thanksgiving that should be the prayer of all believers. It is called the Benedicite, after the many times that the word “Bless” is used in it. In this case “Bless” is another way of saying “give thanks and praise.” The setting is found in the book of Daniel,where three young men are placed in a fiery furnace,something I’m sure even the most faithful among us would be tempted


to think of as a “big problem.” As they enter the fiery furnace to what would seem like a certain death,one of them,Azariah,prays:

Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of our fathers, and worthy of praise; and thy name is glorified for ever. For thou art just in all that thou hast done to us, and all thy works are true and thy ways right, and all thy judgments are truth.Thou hast executed true judgments in all that thou hast brought upon us and upon Jerusalem, the holy city of our fathers, for in truth and justice thou hast brought all this upon us because of our sins. For we have sinfully and lawlessly departed from thee, and have sinned in all things and have not obeyed thy commandments; we have not observed them or done them, as thou hast commanded us that it might go well with us.

— DANIEL 3 : 3 – 7

It is a prayer of thanksgiving, sounding very much like a Eucharistic Prayer that is prayed at the Mass we attend.Those trying to exterminate the three men, hearing the prayer, stoke up the flames, and the three pray a prayer that includes the following:

Bless the Lord, fire and heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, dews and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, nights and days, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord,light and darkness,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.Bless the Lord,ice and cold,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, frosts and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Let the


earth bless the Lord; let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.”

— DANIEL 3 : 4 4 – 5 2

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 21

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 8


One of my favorite quotes is from the journals of Father Alexander Schmemann: “God, when creating the world, did not solve problems or pose them.He created what He could call ‘very good.’ God created the world, but the devil transformed the world and man and life into a ‘problem.’ ”10 If we want to adore God with praise and thanksgiving we are going to have to learn to stop seeing everything as a “problem” or “interruption” and begin to be open to seeing God’s goodness and interventions even in the most unlikely of places.

Many of the most horrific sins ever committed by human beings happen because people see problems where they should see blessings. If we do not adore God above all, we risk doing horrible things as we serve whatever else we have put in God’s place.


Human beings are created for the purpose of praising God.The Lord demands nothing else in the same manner that he requires praise and thanksgiving of us.For that reason he made rational beings and distinguished us from animals by our power of speech so that we might praise and glorify him continually.



How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 20

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 7

B E I N G L O V E D  B Y J E S U S

In Mark 10:21 in the account of the rich young man, Mark tells us that Jesus,“looking upon him loved him, and said to him,‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ ”

Notice that because Christ loves the rich young man,he points out what the young man lacks. It is out of love that Jesus tells him to get rid of all his possessions.

Christ’s love will reveal similar deficiencies in us. Our Lord looks upon us and recognizes what we really need. However, we often come to him with our own ideas about what we need. If we prefer our own ideas to the love of Christ, we too will join the rich young man who walks away sad, “for his possessions were many.” We may possess the world, but without Christ it is nothing!


In John 8:42, Jesus is engaged in a heated argument with those who oppose him. He says to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.” We know, therefore, that Jesus is God, and we should prefer nothing to God and his love, which Jesus has revealed to us perfectly.

How do we know if we truly love Our Lord? He addresses this in John 14:23-24: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” We love Our Lord by doing what he commands us to do.

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 19

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 6

“ T R U S T I N G  I N O D    I N LL I R C U M S TA N C E S 

When Our Lord spoke about his Second Coming, an event that every celebration of the Eucharist looks forward to and prays for in a joyful manner,he laid out the signs that will precede that coming, and indeed they are all rather horrible — that is, if all your hope is invested in your 401K.Yet notice the contrast between the unbeliever and the believer:

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

— LUKE 2 1 : 2 5 – 2 8 ( EMPHASIS ADDED )

While one crowd is dying of fear because everything seems to be crumbling around them the other crowd, the believers, stand up and look to the heavens. Why?

If we truly place our faith in God,we will trust in him no matter what happens. In fact, the way that we see will be completely different. Jesus referred to unbelievers as blind and believers as those who truly see. Seeing that God is the “one thing needful” keeps us from putting our trust in anything else.


St. Benedict, in his Rule, counsels those who want to follow Christ “to prefer nothing to the love of Christ.”This means that we must love Christ above everything else, and that being loved by Christ must be our first priority in life.

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 18

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 5


My son Joseph walked into the room while I was putting together the material for this chapter. When he walked in I was having a difficult time coming up with a good illustration for what “living in thanksgiving” means in the concrete and I wasn’t thankful that he was bothering me. Then it struck me that the point of living in thanksgiving is simply that what I might otherwise perceive as an interruption becomes an intervention, once I adore God above all things.

God had sent Joseph into my room. This hit me when I sent him away and he said “Thank you,” as he went off. For a period of his young life he had the habit of saying “thank you,” not after he had been given something that he was appreciative of but rather


when he had been told to do something, I think he thought that “thank you”meant “okay.”Yet this is exactly what living in thanksgiving is, saying “thank you” to whatever God presents to us in the daily events of our lives.

“ L I V I N G I N T H A N K S G I V I N G ”

Living in thanksgiving literally means always having gratitude on your lips.

The late great Orthodox liturgist Alexander Schmemann felt that the meaning of “thanksgiving”— the literal translation of the Greek word Eucharist — had been lost on modern people. We tend to limit giving thanks to only those things that we receive that we perceive as good.Yet Schmemann argues that for the early church “giving thanks” was something the Christian did because the Kingdom of God had been restored in Jesus Christ.

Our very inclusion in Christ is reason enough to give thanks; the fact that God has spoken to us in the Word is another reason to give thanks; the fact that Christ has saved us and shares his Body and Blood with us is another reason to give thanks; and the fact that Christ has given us a mission is yet another reason to give him thanks! In fact,you will recognize that at the point in the celebration of the Eucharist that each of these things is mentioned, we express our thanks, either as a congregation, when we say, “Thanks be to God,” or through the presider, when he says to God, “We give you thanks.”

Because of what Christ has done for us we now have a vantage point in life that those who do not know Christ do not have.The liturgy is a mystery of light, and we are on the mountaintop of the Transfiguration and know that Jesus rises from the dead — that he is victorious over our enemies. Therefore, as St. Paul tells the Thessalonians, we can “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).



Practice giving thanks to God at all times. Make it a habit to step back when you judge something negatively and to ask God to help you to see it in his will.

Michael Dubruiel

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 4

G E T T I N G      T H E M O S T O U T       O F          T H E E U C H A R I S T    B Y A D O R I N G G O D

From a positive standpoint, then, what can we do to adore God in the Eucharist?

First we must foster a sense of reverence for God.The actions in the Mass of kneeling, bowing, and beating our breasts all have meaning. They cause us to consciously call to mind that God is present and to focus all of our attention on what God wants of us at the present moment.

Second, we need to worship the Eucharist outside of Mass in order to foster a deeper communion with our Eucharistic Lord when we receive his awesome gift at Mass. When we actively worship Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament we grow in awareness of what it means to receive him at Communion. Pope John Paul II has written about this as a necessary element


to restoring an awe of the precious gift of the Eucharist. A Franciscan friend recently told me that when preaching about the Eucharist to young people, he begins by telling them to “Be amazed,” paraphrasing the Holy Father’s injunction.

Coming aside to reverence Christ in the Eucharist, realizing that he is before us, has the same power to change us as he did to those who came into his earthly presence.


Try to find time to make a visit to a chapel or church to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Give Christ whatever time you have, whether a little or a lot. Make acts of worship in his presence.

Consciously call to mind God’s presence throughout the day, no matter where you are.

Third,we need to understand what the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls “the implications of faith in one God.” It means:

  • “Living in thanksgiving” (CCC 224).

•    “Trusting God in every circumstance” (CCC 227).


How to Get More out of Mass by Michael Dubruiel

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 3


In 1989 something happened to me that I still think a lot about. I had come into our parish church in order to obtain the Blessed Sacrament to bring to the sick in the local hospital. As I approached the sanctuary of the church, I knelt down to spend a few minutes of prayer before setting out. It was then that something compelled me to prostrate myself on that spot on the carpeted floor. This was something I had seldom done before. So there I knelt with my hands and head pressed to the floor.

I felt something rough pressing into my forehead. Raising my head from the floor and feeling my forehead,I found pieces of the Eucharist (this parish used homemade unleavened bread at their Sunday Masses, a type of bread that crumbled quite easily). Feeling around the floor, I found more pieces of the Eucharist there. I picked them up and placed them into the pyx that I was carrying with me and took them to the pastor of the parish. The pastor immediately put a stop to the parish using the homemade bread until they could find a way to keep this “abuse” of the Blessed Sacrament from occurring.

This incident is noteworthy to me because of the “impulse” that came over me to adore those unseen pieces of the Blessed Sacrament on the floor.

In Scripture this impulse to adore happens whenever someone comes into contact with a messenger of God, with an event that reminds them of God, or with God himself in the person of Jesus.Abraham does this in Genesis 18:2,Balaam does it in Numbers 22:31, Joshua does it in Joshua 5:14, the blind man does it


to Jesus in John 9:38, and the disciples do it to Jesus in Matthew 28:9. Those tempted to adore God’s works, however, are condemned in Scripture.

When John falls down to worship an angel in the Book of Revelation, the angel scolds him, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God” (Revelation 19:10). Likewise, when Cornelius bows down to worship Peter, he is told by the apostle, “Stand up; I too am a man” (Acts 10:26), and when Paul and Barnabas are the recipients of unwanted worship they tear their garments and beg the people to recognize that God alone is to be worshipped (see Acts 14).

The point is that God alone is to be adored. If you want to get the most out of the Eucharist you need to worship the Lord! The first three commandments given to Moses emphasized the necessity of worshiping God alone.

  1. I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Godsbefore me.
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

This means that we must not worship false Gods. What are some of the false gods that can present themselves as “goods” at the Eucharist? They are the same today as they would have been for those who experienced Christ in the flesh:

1. Ideology: Liberal or Conservative

In Jesus’s time the Sadducees and the Pharisees held rival ideologies of how best to be a worshipper of God.Yet when God showed up in their midst in the person of Jesus,neither group could accept him — Jesus didn’t fit their image of God.

In our own time good and well-meaning people fall into the same temptation, one that masks itself as a good but is really a sin of pride. There are people who accept what the Holy Father


teaches on some issues but reject what he says on others based not on whether it matches the truth of the gospels but rather on whether it matches their ideology or what they wish God was like.

When it comes to the worship of God, we must insure that it is God that we adore and not our own idea of who God is or should be.

2. Looking for a Human Savior

Jesus is our savior. If we are looking for a priest, a parish community, the perfect worship space, or excellent music — though all of these are good things — we risk making an idol out of these things and missing God, who is omnipresent. The effectiveness of the Eucharistic liturgy depends upon God, not us. Reverencing Jesus — no matter how bad the preaching, music, church building, or anything else that might be our personal pet peeve — puts our focus where it belongs. Those who tried to worship the apostles were scolded that this was not where their focus should be, but rather on God. Ministers both clerical and lay need to remember this: none of us is the savior; only Jesus holds that title.

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