Many Catholics are already aware of the need to pray before Mass begins in order to be fully present and receptive to the miracle that is taking place.
However, it can be hard to know how to start to pray before Mass if you have never been taught. The good news is that God appreciates any prayer we pray out of the goodness of our hearts, even if it is imperfect.
Why Pray Before Mass?
The celebration of the Mass is the ultimate sign of the Catholic Faith. Jesus gives Himself to us in this incredibly real and intimate way, so praying to prepare ourselves for this sacrament is an important step to show the sacrament and the Lord respect and honor.
Coming to church early to pray before Mass allows time for us to relax and let the Holy Spirit put us in a proper, more peaceful disposition to receive Jesus. If we come to Mass just a few moments before it starts, it is likely that our minds will be wandering and we will be unable to focus throughout the celebration.
Prayers Before Mass
There are a couple common prayers to jumpstart your prayer routine before Mass.
1. Thomas Aquinas's prayer before Mass:
Almighty and ever-living God,
I approach the sacrament
of Your only-begotten Son
Our Lord Jesus Christ,
I come sick to the doctor of life,
unclean to the fountain of mercy,
blind to the radiance of eternal light,
and poor and needy to the Lord
of heaven and earth.
Lord, in your great generosity,
heal my sickness,
wash away my defilement,
enlighten my blindness, enrich my poverty,
and clothe my nakedness.
May I receive the bread of angels,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
with humble reverence,
with the purity and faith,
the repentance and love,
and the determined purpose
that will help to bring me to salvation.
May I receive the sacrament
of the Lord's Body and Blood,
and its reality and power.
may I receive the Body
of Your only-begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
born from the womb of the Virgin Mary,
and so be received into His mystical body
and numbered among His members.
as on my earthly pilgrimage
I now receive Your beloved Son
under the veil of a sacrament,
may I one day see him face to face in glory,
who lives and reigns with You for ever.
2. Act of Love
O my God, I love Thee with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength and with no other desire than to be inseparably united to Thee. It is through Thy Divine Son that this union is about to be realized within me. In Holy Communion I long to identify myself with Him, that it will no longer be myself, but Him, who lives in me; and when I have received Jesus within myself, then I shall love and be loved by Thee in that same measure, in which I am united to Him. Hasten then, to give me Thy Divine Son, at the hands of Thy priest, that through Jesus, I may unite myself forever to Thee, O God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The most important thing to remember is that the prayer does not have to follow a certain structure. God is pleased that you took extra time to prepare yourself before encountering Him in the Mass, and He will make our imperfect prayers perfect.
Other Mass resources:
If you are looking for ways to give thanks after receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, this blog has great prayers to recite after Communion.
2. Mass journal
The Mass journal is a helpful tool when it comes to participating in the Mass fully. It is a great tool for keeping track of how the Lord moves within us in the Mass and take those movements to prayer throughout the week.
Challenge yourself to get to the church 10-15 minutes before Mass starts to let God prepare your heart to receive Him. This short amount of time will give God the space to work wonders and help you receive and participate in the graces of the Mass more fully.
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