Do you ever have a conversation with someone who isn't engaged? You know they're just waiting for you to get done flapping your gums so they can spout off their opinion...no matter what it is that the conversation is actually about.
Now, I admit, I've done this. I think most people would admit that somedays they have a verbal diarrhea and all they need is someone to talk to, so that others don't think they're crazy for talking to themselves.
At the Creed tonight, I had this thought come to me, in part because of the homily that Father had just given, about needing to have a conversation with God at all times, so that our 'well' doesn't dry up; and I was reflecting upon how the Mass is a conversation, except I realized that the Mass is a conversation in which it seems like we are just waiting for the priest to say his part and shut up so that we can start talking. In other words, we're not really listening.
I've attended Mass probably thousands of times, and the responses just become rote, just another thing to say. I stop engaging and actually praying the Mass, and just say the responses...sometimes it even seems like the congregation wants to pre-empt the priest!
These are the 'rote' responses we say, and that the priest says, that struck a nerve with me tonight. The next time you go to Mass, try to really engage in what you are saying (and if you already do that, good on you!). I hope that I can remember this for the next Mass, because I was in tears tonight over the impact of the Mass, what we participate in, what we say, and what we believe. I wanted to shake people, to slap them awake and say... "Do you believe this? Do you believe in the absurdity of God made man, and dying for us? For us?! Are you for real?"
We believe....all that is seen and unseen.
For our sake
He will come again
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
Through your goodness...
...accept the sacrifice...for the praise and glory of his name, for our good, and the good of all his Church.
It is right to give him thanks and praise
...heaven and earth are full of your glory
...it is our duty...always and everywhere to give you thanks
Let us proclaim the mystery of faith...Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.
Have mercy on us all
[The great Amen was particularly moving for me, for some reason.]
...as we forgive those who trespass against us...
Deliver us...grant us peace...in your mercy...protect us from all anxiety
...my peace I give you...
[The exchange of peace between priest and people was also quite moving.]
Happy are those...called...
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you...only say the word and I shall be healed...
...in the strength of this food from heaven keep us single-minded in your service.