April 16, 2007

Aren't You Glad You are Holy? Don't You Wish Everyone Was?

Gentle Reader: Some days when I'm at Holy Mass or I"m in the church before or after, I can't help but wish I was the only one there. Just me, God and the Celebrant. The rest of my collective members of the Body of Christ can just stay home.

You know what I mean. I'm sure many of my blog readers have been in a similar situation.

You deliberately go to the church early so that you can pray and someone walks in and at full volume starts talking about their latest medical complaints to someone else in the church. I've even had people walk right up to me when I'm obviously praying and start talking about something completely unrelated to my personal prayer.

Then there are the folks who sit behind you and talk during the entire Homily.

I have absolutely, no problem, with infants or children making noise. They are still learning. I'm talking about the adults, who, in my opinion, are the main offenders.

I should take the opportunity to note that these experiences have occurred to me in a variety of parishes. Before someone posts a comment with something along the lines of "We never have talking before, after or during Mass at St. Agnes." Friend, I'm here to tell you that, yes, you do.

Well, yesterday, I'm in church before Mass praying my Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet, or, rather TRYING to pray it and "yakkety-yak, don't look back" is happening all around me. I, remembered, thinking, this is ridiculous and I need to change parishes.

Yes, I have commented to my pastor and a member of our Parish Council but they do not, clearly, think this is an area of concern since they've done nothing and said nothing about it.

Given that I have already established that this problem is not unique to any one parish. Where can I go? I suppose I could go to some parish where it is less of a problem then in mine.

Then, I stopped myself.

If all of us who are upset about something gather only in a few parishes what good will that do? If all of the orthodox Catholics only keep to themselves, how can we have any impact on the garbage that's going on in some of our parishes?

Dissident Catholics have absolutely no problem infiltrating any parish they want. Sure, they, too, generally, prefer to keep to a few parishes but I think they do a better job of spreading their particular brand of the Faith around then we do. In fact, dissident Catholics are ENCOURAGED to take "the fight" to others.

I know there is a point at which a parish may be so bad and you've tried so many times but nothing is changing and you have to go elsewhere. However, I think a lot of us just walk away and gripe, rather then actually trying to do something about it.

Have you actually spoken to or written your pastor? Have you expressed your concerns to your parish council? Do you call the parish secretary when you see something in your Bulletin that is contrary to Church teaching?

I've decided that I need to pray before and after Mass. If I have to do it during the collective din, so be it. What's important is that the Lord sees. It's important that I keep my dialogue with the Lord going-no matter what the circumstances. I've also decided that it is important to witness to prayer by having people actually see me doing it. This may crack some of you up, but, I'm known in my parish for my orthodoxy. Not because of my blog or newspaper appearances, but because of my gestures, postures, dress and attention during Holy Mass. When I told my Pastor that I used to be a member of St. Joan of Arc, he was stunned. He could not believe it, because I seemed so orthodox.

It does no good if we are all in hiding. Come out and be a witness for the Faith!


Blogger Ray from MN said...

See what happens, folks, when people get confirmed as an adult?

All of a sudden they are so full of the Holy Spirit that they want to change the Church.

Welcome to my club of "detached critics", Cathy!

Last Saturday night about 10 o'clock I went to an adoration chapel for the last day of the Divine Mercy Novena and what to my wondering ears should appear but a practicing organist, working on bits and pieces of some work that I had not heard before (and hope to never hear again).

I ended up going home and repeating the Novena at home because I couldn't concentrate.

One of the reasons I have gravitated up to the "Pharisee Pews" (the first five or so) is to stay away from the folks who like to talk. but that doesn't work either. Talkers can be Pharisees, too.

I suppose I could try that Carthusian Monastery shown in that movie, "Into Great Silence", but I have a sneaking suspicion that even Carthusians "cheat."

They are human, after all.

People (confessors, if you really want to know) keep hitting on me with respect to humility. Adoro threw something at me about humility and suffering from JPII.

I think God is talking again and wants me to do something about pride and foster a little humility.

Maybe that might be the answer the "talking problem."

April 16, 2007 6:19 PM  
Blogger onionboy said...

Just this Sunday we were commenting on the din before Mass begins. When the prelude began people just raised their voices. Bless them damn cradle Catholics ;-)

Of course, if I were saintly I'd just pray on anyway and take the noise to the Lord and offer it up without complaint as a way of suffering for Jesus. Who knows, maybe he'd even use it to help those folks out.


April 16, 2007 6:55 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: LOL! True, I should try not to be so HOLY. Ha-ha. I usually sit up front but it does not always "work" as you pointed out. I've never fled the place though. I don't think that's the first time you've done that, my friend.

onionboy: Sunday I almost thought about starting to recite my DM Chaplet out loud to try and get folks to stop talking. I decided against it.

April 16, 2007 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cathy - this is such a good post! We don't have a big problem with noise before Mass but we do have other problems. You are right - we need to set the example of what authentic Catholicism teaches.

April 16, 2007 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

I know that when I get to Mass on Sunday, the choir will be practicing and there will be talking so I just try to block it out as best I can.

The one time at Mass when the lady sitting behind me was either talking to her neighbour or making some decidedly unapproved additions to the responses in the Missal took a little more effort to offer it up.

April 16, 2007 9:08 PM  
Blogger Sanctus Belle said...

Well I find my children to be much more distracting to me at mass then talking parishoners. Although my children behave well at Mass, its not perfect - of course. I often have to remind them to sit up straight, fold thier hands, remember to pray...etc. If they aren't distracting me, all the people around are. Unless one is alone, one more deal with those around them. At daily mass I find there's far fewer outward distractions, but I'm continually distracted by the "din of the mind" which goes like this..."oh man and I hungry...what did I need to get at the grocery store later, oh yeah, the third sorrowful mystery, yes Lord, Your Crowning with Thorns.....Hail Mary, um, did I remember to close my bedroom window, it looks like rain..." Distraction is unavoidable and can be a great cross. I try very unperfectly to let this be purifying and to be patient with it. Distractions are an excellent sourse of growth in patience and perserverance with prayer. Its also a great trial!

April 17, 2007 11:49 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Sanctus Belle: Excellent point. I struggle with internal distraction during prayer-especially during the Rosary.

April 17, 2007 12:09 PM  
Blogger Kasia said...

Very interesting.

We have a notoriously orthodox parish here in Detroit that is often decried for its 'citadel mentality'. I understand why the super-orthodox want to band together, but at the same time your point is well taken: what good does it do the rest of the Body of Christ?

It's certainly food for thought, anyway - I visited the aforementioned ultra-orthodox parish for a special Mass this weekend, and was only slightly thrilled that:

(a) I had to kneel to receive Communion,
(b) I had to receive on the tongue (no choice in the matter), and
(c) to prevent the spilling of the Precious Blood, since they were using intinction, the altar server held a monstrous brass thingy under my chin. (I felt like I was about to be decapitated, but it conveyed the message!)

It definitely made one think about what one was receiving! But - if the rest of the archdiocese turns into a Protestant free-for-all, what good does it do for a couple hundred faithful to receive kneeling in a citadel?

April 17, 2007 1:51 PM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

I don't think this is a religious or holy problem, necessarily.
I just think people don't know how to behave anymore.
There's no sense of decorum, anywhere.
Go into any fancy restaurant. Go into a Broadway show.
Go into ANY place where people are supposed to behave differently than they do at a city park.
People's sense of entitlement and selfishness is far worse than in times past, so they talk when they feel like talking, wear what they feel like wearing, show up when it's convenient for them...
I struggle with this mightily at Mass, not because it's offensive to me, but because it's an offense to the Lord Himself, truly present.
I'd be embarrassed if someone showed up late to a function of the Queen's or the President's, wearing streetwalker clothing, chatting loudly about what they were doing to eat for lunch.
How much more ashamed and angry should I be when they do it in the Lord's house?
I know how this sounds, and I don't mean it that way, but it drives me insane.
I wish I could be holy enough to ignore it or to just pray for those in error, but I'm just not there yet.

April 18, 2007 8:42 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ma: I agree that there is a general erosion of manners and decorum in our society.

I get mad too. I'm not a Saint yet.

April 18, 2007 9:18 PM  

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