In my five years of blessings as a contributor here at ATX Catholic, I have taken one post per year to write something that is not a review. Instead, I write about something a little closer to my heart. They’re more like the things I post at my personal blog, Lindsay Loves.
- In my very first post, I introduced myself and expressed a desire that we not just show our Christianity through our love, but through perhaps more obvious signs.
- In 2012, I wrote about media discernment for Catholics. Yes, I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. I’m in until the bitter end at this point.
- In 2013, I wrote about preparing for Mass. I still do all of those things, although I’ve moved my pre-Mass readings a little earlier, and I read the Gospel in Spanish.
- In 2014, I gushed about why I love Augustinian spirituality. I’m still enamored with Augustine.
- Last year, I wrote about preparing for and going to Confession. I’m still a sinner.
So first, I offer a big thank you to ATX Catholic for having me as a contributor for such a long time, and a thank you to everyone who has been reading, even if this is your first post.
This year, I’d like to share my tips for what to do at the end of Mass.
- Stay after Communion. Mass ain’t over til it’s over. You will cause a scandal, no matter who you are or why you’re leaving early. I’m sure you have a good reason. Everyone thinks their reason is the best. Yours probably isn’t.
- Stay through the final blessing. As Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble writes in her reasons to stay until the end of Mass, that blessing is so important that not being able to give it caused Zechariah great shame. That was why he lost his ability to speak: how could someone without faith lead others in the faith? Fun fact: The hand gesture used by the Jewish high priest to give the blessing is the one you’ve seen with a wish that you “live long and prosper.” ??
- Stay until the music or procession ends. Three verses of a hymn or song is not too many. As my grad school classmate Matthew once said, “We will sing all the verses because you never know when you’re gonna go.” If there is no music, wait until the last person in the procession has left the church. Please don’t run over Father What’s-His-Name; he’s very old.
- Say thank you. The king of the universe just allowed you to eat him. Ponder that for a second. Pray a Glory Be. Add the Divine Praises and the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel while you’re at it. They don’t take as long as you think they do, and they’re probably printed in your hymnal or missalette.
- Say hello. Mingle a little bit in your church’s narthex or social hall. I have not been a morning Massgoer in a long time, but I hear they have donuts. Greet those people you see in the pew every week. Compliment someone’s well-behaved child. Say a silent prayer for patience and grace for the parent of a less well-behaved child. Shake your priest’s hand. Then re-enter the world. Leave Mass on a good note, not by doing the “Judas shuffle.” He left Mass early, too.
If you struggle with any of these points, make it an act of mercy to grow in your post-Mass practices. If you don’t, make it an act of mercy to pray silently that others might experience that grace. It’s not easy trying to pray while others have burst into conversation around you in the church, but getting out of the building (and the parking lot) is much, much easier. Trust me.
What prayers do you like to offer after Mass? What do you think is the best reason to zip out after Communion? Which church has the best donuts? Share your thoughts!