How to participate in Mass transmitted on the TV? Fr. Andrzej Dudek says:
The threatening epidemic changes our daily habits, but also affects important areas of our lives. For many of us, just a few days ago it was unimaginable to not go to church for Sunday Mass or not to participate in Lent Passion services. However, this became a reality that should be accepted as God’s sign. In all this, we cannot let ourselves be prompted by pride, which tells us that no one can prohibit us from manifesting our faith or from access to God and the sacraments. Rather, we should be guided by the virtue of prudence and faith in God’s Providence.
Prudence commands us to care not only for the personal salvation of our fellow brothers and sister, but also for the proper use of God’s gifts, which include life and health. For the sake of these gifts, one must first accept the restrictions imposed to stop the uncontrolled spread of the epidemic, and then develop faith in God’s Providence, which guides the history of salvation and, in a conscious way, gives people necessary favors according to circumstances.
Perhaps the situation will allow us to think about what Sunday Mass and other practices are for us. It usually happens in our lives that we start to appreciate something when we miss it. One of the forms of receiving God’s grace is individual and community prayer. That is why on radio, television and online we have so many opportunities of broadcasted Masses and other forms of prayers to help us find time for God.
First, we must stress that nothing can replace physical participation in the Mass in the church, because it is only there where the sacrament takes place. The broadcast is a kind of live coverage. Just like the broadcast of the game, that takes place somewhere on the stadium. While we were watching it on TV, we can’t say that we were there or that this game took place in our house. However, watching it on TV, we can learn its course perfectly and feel the atmosphere that is on the stadium, especially when we watch the game in company. Many die-hard fans, when they can’t see game live, do everything to see it on TV. They will abandon all other activities, so that they won’t waste a minute. Many prepare drinks and snacks to make watching the game more pleasant. That’s obvious.
Watching the transmission of Mass or listening to the radio allows us to spiritually move to the church or to think about God. For this to happen, however, we cannot watch it like a game or a TV series. This time should be quite exceptional. Here are some suggestions:
- It would be good to plan in advance which transmission we want to hear. It is therefore necessary to find the right time that suits everyone, so that all other activities at home can cease. It is recommended that all household members listen to the same broadcast. That nobody would distract anyone
- Certainly, it wouldn’t be a mistake if everyone took care of the right outfit, as we usually do when preparing to go to church. Let this one room with TV or radio become our chapel during this time. That is why appropriate places should be prepared for all members of the household – preferably the chairs on which we will sit. We can prepare a table in this room by covering it with a white tablecloth, placing a cross, painting or statue of Our Lady and a lit candle. Of course, you probably do not need to convince anyone that it is not proper to prepare drinks or food.
- Before the broadcast begins, we try to recognize that now we want to watch Mass and pray together. (children might need some help)
- Our prayer is expressed not only in listening. We can join in the singing of the broadcasted Mass but if we know that we do not have musical abilities, it is better to save the household members from additional distractions and listen to the hymns carefully. Let us respond to the priest’s words as in the church. Let this transmission engage us. After all, God is present where two or three are gathered in His name to pray together.
- Let’s also take care of the right body postures. Therefore, we should get up, sit down and kneel just like at Mass in a church. While listening to the words of the Eucharistic Prayer, we can imagine that we are in our church, in which the Lord Jesus is present in the tabernacle. It will be better than looking at the TV right now. It will help us to prepare for spiritual holy communion.
- We can receive spiritual communion at a time when it is distributed to the faithful present in the broadcast mass. It is worth kneeling down towards the cross, gently turn down the sound so that the singing is a delicate background to our prayer. Let father or mother read devoutly the act of the spiritual communion. Then let everyone pray in silence in his own words.
- We should avoid commenting and chatting during broadcasts. When it’s over, maybe it’s worth staying a while and talking about what we’ve experienced. How did God speak to us through readings or sermon? Let’s talk about whether we were able to pray in such an unusual situation. What was difficult for us or what was beautiful at the time of family prayer together. Do not forget that it was a family prayer, not simply broadcast of the Mass holidays
Certainly, similar behavior is recommended when listening to or watching the broadcast of other services. Let us treat them as a time of our prayer, a time of meeting God, and we will certainly experience God’s grace and strength.
[translated from Polish from gosc.pl]
The act of the spiritual communion
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen. (St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori).