Healthy Soul/Living Out Your Faith/My Life/Teen Life

“Stop Checking Your Phone During Mass”: A Note to Myself

I love God and I also love football. You might be able to see why Sundays are, in my opinion, the absolute best day of the week. Being able to consume the body and blood of Christ is the best thing you can do any day, but also being able to watch one of the most entertaining sports in the world on the same day is a nice touch to the day.

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During one particular Sunday, my favorite team was playing while I was at Mass. I was trying my hardest to pay attention to the readings and immerse myself in the Mass but I cracked. I decided to take a look at my phone before the homily started. While it took nothing more than a few seconds for me to open my phone, look at the score, and then turn my phone off, my focus for the rest of the Mass was completely gone. While I was physically in the Mass, my mind was somewhere completely different.

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A glance at your phone during Mass may seem harmless enough, but what it does to your attention and connection to the Eucharist is immeasurable.

The Respect of Attention

Our attention is sacred. You probably haven’t thought of it as such but undivided attention to one particular subject is a true gift. While it may be great to receive, there are some scenarios where attention is practically expected.

Imagine going to grab dinner with a great friend that you love dearly. You don’t get to see this friend as often as you like, so you cherish the time that you do have with them. Right after you order your food and you’re about to see how they are doing, their attention has now vanished for an app on their phone. Rude, right? That’s what we’re doing when we pull out our phone during the Mass.

When we choose to look at our phone during Mass, we’re putting our God second, and whatever is on our phone is first. Are we really going to pull ourselves away from a celebration as beautiful as the Mass for pixels on a screen? It doesn’t matter what text, tweet, snapchat, or sports update it is; There is no notification on your phone that is more important than what is happening in the Mass.

When our attention and focus leave whatever we’re focused on, we also lose some if its importance to us. To go back to the dinner analogy, if someone was to look at their phone during that time, than a little bit of time that should’ve been between two people is now gone. No matter what happens at that dinner, possible experiences and memories are now gone. The dinner has, more than likely, become less of an experience.

Similarly, when we choose to look at a screen during Mass, our attention is diminished and we might get less out of the Mass. Mass is a celebration but when we look at our phone, we might not get the full message of what that Mass has to offer. In order to get the full effect of the Eucharist, we need to give full attention to everything in the Mass.

Noise-Cancelling

The question in front of us now is “How do we receive the most we can during Mass?” There are two aspects that are important if you want to be paying full attention to the Mass.

The first aspect is having no distractions during the Mass itself. My parish back home (they’re the coolest) always reminded the congregation before mass to “turn your phone to prayer mode”. The way that I view that statement is that your phone should be on airplane mode or simply turned off.

The other aspect of getting better at focusing during the Mass actually takes place outside the Mass itself. I’ve found that if I go into Mass having read the readings for that day, it becomes much more easier to focus. Instead of encountering a reading for the first time, I can now see how the readings connect with each other or get something out of a particular phrase that I didn’t the first time. By taking some time before Sunday and doing some “homework” before Mass, we can be much more attentive to the service and possibly attain more out of it than we could before.

Similarly, using a guide for the readings before a Sunday will immensely help you take in the word of God. For my fellow podcast aficionados, check out Mark Hart’s weekly Sunday reading reflection. Not only are they pretty short (about 7 minutes per episode), but they give some extra context to the readings. If you’re feeling extra awesome, then I cannot recommend Ascend enough. It’s an incredibly deep guide to the weekly readings that is great to meditate on before you go to Mass.

BRB Gotta See God

Unplugging from society is hard no matter what the situation is. Our attention is important is sacred, so let’s make sure that our God has all of it when we do see Him.

Is it hard for me to tune out of football for a few hours on Sunday? Yes, but that sacrifice is necessary for me to fully enter the Mass. Our phones might be cool but when the Eucharist is about to be right in front of us, whatever is on our phone pales in comparison to what is about to be on that altar.

About the Author

Dillon Duke

Of all the blessings that God has given me, the ones that particularly stand out are family, french fries and football. I'm currently a Communications student at the University of Houston but I'm hoping to get into Hogwarts for graduate school. You can find my music recommendations and dad-jokes at twitter @dillduke

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