Sunday, September 20, 2009

An observation from this morning's Mass

This morning, the kids in Mass seemed particularly unruly. Maybe it's a full moon, who knows. I try to think of this as an exercise in focus and concentration. There is a passage from C.S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters" that speaks to this point, how the devil can achieve a victory by distracting you during Mass, especially during the most important parts of Mass; the Consecration and reverent reception of the Eucharist.

Well, one particular youngster was literally bouncing around two pews in front of us and his mother seemed to be ... a bit lax in keeping him from crawling under the pew, making noise, etc. But, whatever, it wasn't a big deal and as adults we should be able to ignore this. Actually, if you have to concentrate more, it should in theory draw you deeper into the Mass.

Anyway, the one point during the Mass when the mother really snapped the kid into shape and 'made' him concentrate was during the Our Father. She forced him to stand up straight and hold hands (incorrectly extending the hands they weren't holding to mimic the priest). Now every part of the Mass is significant and important. But there are far more important moments than the Our Father to snap one's children into line and really listen and be attentive ... such as the Consecration for example. And then, to emphasize a liturgically distracting practice such as holding hands and raising your hands like you're participating in a sappy, fluffy praise and worship "song"? Seems odd to me.

But, we always make a point to pray for parents in Mass and to make sure that we really do not care if their children cry from time to time or if they have to reel their kids in who are acting up. It's certainly nothing to be embarrassed about. And it's more important that they are actually there. I'm just pointing out that its a bit odd to emphasize the importance of an incorrect Liturgical practice, that is, if you were to pick one point during Mass to emphasize.

Any stories of hand holding or hand waving we can laugh at?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was a young altar server, 9 years old roughly I am guessing, when Vatican 2 kicked in and the format of the Mass changed so much.

I had only actually been serving a short time when the change was made.

Fr. Florian was the younger of the Priest's at our Parish, so he got the job of training the altar servers.

So he called a meeting and we all went over to Church one day so he could brief us on the new techniques. We were all boys, grade 4 through 8.

He explained the new procedures and then told about the new "Sign of Peace". He quickly realized that there were some who at the time did not find it appealing to shake hands with a girl if it was needed.

I remember him saying: "Just shake hands with her, even if you don't like the dame".

Most of us did not know what the word "dame" meant, but the thought of shaking hands with a girl at Mass seemed scary.

Even today, what with Swine flu and all, some are "scared" of shaking hands, but I bet those little tots would like it if the bearded one would give them a jolly smile and a twinkle of his eye and give them a hearty hand shake! They would likely be so impressed that they would be quiet all the way through Communion!