If I had to guess what time is the most “wasted” at Mass for most people I’d probably say “the time after holy communion.” After a person returns to his or her place after receiving the Lord in the Eucharist, there’s an opportunity for some really intense prayer, but I don’t see most people taking advantage of it.
So I make the suggestion for one and all: next time, pay attention to what you’re missing! Instead of being distracted by watching other people walking up to go to communion (they’re not so different from you, after all), do something more positive. If a processional hymn is going on during communion, join in, and pay attention to the words of the song this time! The same advice applies if the choir is presenting some kind of meditation song: it’s not only the tune that’s meant to be inspiring, the text is important too. It is also important to take time, at least for a moment, for a personal thanksgiving for having received the Lord in the Eucharist. You have just taken the Lord Himself into your “self,” make sure you are grateful. Resolve to let that special moment make a difference in your life. There are no special words to use; God surely is aware of how vitally important – or not – we consider our communion.
One last word about this time after communion, if I may. It’s odd that so many people – and not just children – immediately begin acting way out of line just after receiving the Lord in the Eucharist. In returning to the pew and recollecting oneself, it’s not time to get rambunctious or chatty with others. It’s not time to check one’s makeup or read the Parish Bulletin. Even worse would be to stroll out without a second thought, direct from communion into sinful oblivion I suppose. Holy communion is a special thing; we need to act like it.