Book: Preparing Yourself For Mass
Author: Romano Guardini
Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, NH
Excerpt from Introduction:
[This book] does not try to show how the Mass should be celebrated or how, within the prescribed limits of ecclesiastical law, the organic structure of the sacred ceremony could be brought out more clearly or even how closer participation of the faithful is to be achieved. That is the task of a religious manual.
What is needed here is personal preparation for Holy Mass. This requires not only Mass preparation in the usual sense of the individual believer strengthening his faith, purifying his heart, arranging and directing his intentions, but also that fundamental, vital attitude absolutely necessary to transform a collection of individuals into a congregation, and a restless crowd into a holy people in the sight of God.
Only from such central preparedness can the gaze lifted to the altar grow inwardly quiet and receptive to holiness; only then can hearing and speaking in church differ from the give and take of words in the street, the home, or office.
Table of Contents:
Part I: Sacred Bearing
2. Silence and the Word
3. Silence and Hearing
5. Composure and Action
6. Composure and Participation
7. The Holy Place
8. The Altar as Threshold
9. The Altar as Table
10. Holy Day
11. The Holy Day and the Sacred Hour
12. The Sacred Act
13. The Revelatory Word
14. The Executory Word
15. The Word of Praise
16. The Word of Entreaty
17. The Congregation and Injustice Rectified
18. The Congregation and the Church
19. Habit as a Hindrance
20. Sentimentality as a Hindrance
21. Human Nature as Hindrance
Part II: The Essence of the Mass
22. The Mass as Institution
23. The Mass as Memorial
24. The Memorial of the New Covenant
26. Time and Eternity
27. Mimicry or Liturgical Form
28. Christís Offering of Self
29. Encounter and Feast
30. Truth and the Eucharist
31. The Mass and the New Covenant
32. The Mass and Christís Return
Excerpt from Book:
What then do we mean by composure? As a rule, a manís attention is broken into a thousand fragments by the variety of things and persons about him. His mind is restless; his feelings seek objects that are constantly changing; his desires reach out for one thing after another; his will is captured by a thousand intentions, often conflicting. His is harried, torn, self-contradictory.
Composure works in the opposite direction, rescuing manís attention from the sundry objects holding it captive and restoring unity to his spirit.
It frees his mind from its many tempting claims and focuses it on one, the all-important. It calls the soul that is dispersed over myriad thoughts and desires, plans and intentions back to itself, re-establishing its depth.
. . . To a large extent man lives without depth, without a center, in superficiality and chance. No longer finding the essential within himself, he grabs at all sorts of stimulants and sensations; he enjoys them briefly, tires of them, recalls his own emptiness and demands new distractions.
. . . Composure is more than freedom from scattered impressions and occupations. It is something positive; it is life in its full depth and power. . . . Composure is the spiritual manís ďinhalation,Ē by which, from deep within, he collects his scattered self and returns to his center.