GOEDDE — How we pray at Mass

A plea from a mother of a child with Down syndrome


I ponder two questions when I kneel and stand in church, reciting our prayers in unison with our fellow parishioners.

First, do we concentrate on what we are saying, putting our hearts into our “Lord, have mercy” and “I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof,” etc.?

Are we actively and wholeheartedly feeling the shame and sorrowfulness that these words express, or are our minds wandering to the misspoken words of the person behind us, or what we forgot to do, or the misbehavior of our children, or some other human concern?

Do we mean the words that we say? Or is it the mere recitation of rote learning, similar to the default turning left like we do every morning as we drive to work, but we weren’t going that way today? 

Secondly, I wonder if we realize that our speed in the recitation of these wonderful prayers and admissions are actually inhibiting the heartfelt sorrow and pleas to our Lord by those of us who are too old or are unable to speak with meaning our heartfelt conversation with God at the time-crunched velocity dictated by the majority?

My child knows the words — or at least used to know the words — before she became smothered by the speed and found she could not get the words out in time and just stopped saying them.

How many older people around you are silent in church during these times? It is probably easier for them to think the words at the drumming pace than to actually join us in our prayers and responses.

Not only are we worshippers precluded from putting our emotions into our prayers, but our silence prevents God from hearing our words of praise, gratitude and love. Perhaps that is the greatest loss of all. 

Now that you know some of us are having problems keeping up, won’t you consciously and unitedly slow down and help us share our hearts and words with God as a united congregation?

Mrs. Goedde is a member of Cathedral of St. Joseph Parish in Jefferson City.