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Eyrah Foli writes: She gave me a withering look; the holy water was ruining her makeup

As part of my responsibilities as a Jesuit regent, I used to assist with Mass at the Catholic Chaplaincy of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on Sundays. There was a Sunday where I was asked by the priest celebrating the Mass to sprinkle congregants with holy water as they came forward during the time for thanksgiving. It was a duty I took up with much gusto and energy as I tried my best to discharge the task that had just been handed to me.

It was in the process of sprinkling water that I noticed a lady give me a withering look because the holy water I was sprinkling had just touched her face and was in the process of ruining her makeup which I am sure she had spent hours behind the mirror trying to get right! I had to quickly change strategy and try to aim only for the tops of the heads of the ladies as they came forward.

Preparing for Mass

After Mass, I replayed the encounter in my mind and noticed the way most of the ladies at Mass that day had come looking all nice and prim in their make-up and nice clothes. Preparing to meet God, all of these people had spent time to prepare themselves to look good for God on Sunday.

What about me? Well, I just find a clean white t-shirt, a pair of comfortable black trousers and a pair of fisherman sandals and I top all of this off with my cassock. I realize that in as much as I don’t put much thought and effort in preparing myself externally for Mass like the others, I need to put in effort to prepare myself spiritually for the main reason why I am attending the Mass.

I need to settle down and go through the readings of the day. I usually end up meditating on the Gospel of the day to ‘psych’ myself for my encounter with God at Mass.

Meditating on the Gospel, helps me to adequately prepare to encounter God in a unique way that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible by just putting on my clothes and going for Mass. I find I connect at a deeper level with the homily of the day and hearing the words of the Gospel being proclaimed by the priest, transports me once again to the places and scenarios I experienced in the meditation. It sort of brings it back to life for me.

How do you prepare interiorly for Mass? Do you just wake up and head off to Mass or do you spend some time to meditate on the Word of God before Mass. Some people do this meditation at home before coming and others decide they want the silence and meditative nature of the interior of the church to do that.

There is no one good way to do it. Just do what brings you in closer communion to God but whatever you do, do not come to Mass without preparing interiorly as you prepared exteriorly.

Source: Eyrah Foli SJ

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