Reading Fr. Powell’s post on listening to a homily yesterday I was both intrigued and skeptical on this part.
Repeat every word in your head. Yup, that’s what I said: repeat every word. I do this all the time. I have what the Buddhists call “Monkey Mind.” Just about the only way I can pay attention to a homily is to close my eyes (no visual distraction) and then repeat every word of the homily in my head. This is how I am able to stay on track, follow the homily’s “argument,” and not end up daydreaming about bread pudding, Battlestar Galactica, and the Pope’s new encyclical all at the same time.
Now I often closes my eyes during Mass to concentrate better or at least to reduce the number of distractions. I tried the repeating every word of the readings and the homily in my head and I found that I was able to pay much more attention and in fact even remembered key parts of the homily later. Usually I am lucky to remember any parts of the readings or the homily by the end of the Mass. The effort to repeat the words in and of themselves kept me on track and my mind wandered much less during the liturgy. Considering that Fr. Keene is such an excellent homilist the more I can retain the better. So I would recommend this technique to see if it works for you.
Earlier this week somebody sent me a like to League of Eucharistic Guardians. Now this sounds like a great name for a graphic novel to me. This appears to be another excellent apostolate originating out of the Philippines. One of the signs of renewal in the Church is Eucharistic adoration especially perpetual adoration. This movement can do nothing but bear good fruit for the Church. My parish doesn’t have perpetual adoration, but they have adoration after mass regularly and an all night vigil on first Fridays. Since adoration is schedules pretty much while I am at work my wife and I regularly go to a parish whey they do have perpetual adoration in a chapel. It is so convenient to be able to go anytime you want to and they have a security keypad you have to use to get inside. They also have a very beautiful monstrance. It brings me such joy and peace to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and the absolute quiet is so conductive to prayer. I also really enjoy seeing people as they come in and out of the chapel and it reminds me that all around the world people are always coming to spend time with Christ. That people try to take the "Can’t you spend one hour with me" seriously.
We were in for a surprise as we left adoration today. As we were headed out we saw Fr. Mitch Pakwa sitting by himself in the back row. I knew he was in town this week for a conference, but didn’t expect to get a chance to see him. I was tempted to go up to him, but wisely left him alone. Since my conversion I have always enjoyed watching and listening to him on EWTN and enjoyed both his Biblical expertise and wry humor. It was also nice to see this old school Jesuit spending time before the Blessed Sacrament. I was kind of thrilled to see a Catholic celebrity and being close to someone famous. But I then realized that I had just spent an hour or so with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and he is even more famous – plus you can talk to him anytime without feeling your interrupting.