Father Zuhlsdorf linked
to my post on Gang Colors at Holy Mass
from his fine blog the other day. To my surprise, there were a few people who took my post as an opportunity to talk about about attire in general as well as veer into gestures and posture. To my complete lack of surprise, I realized that it is still true that people don't read what is actually on the page but what they think is on the page based upon projecting their own selves into it. In my original post, my intent was to express my displeasure at those who use the colors they have on to make a statement of their infidelity to the Faith. I, further, expressed my dismay that these same gangsters feign surprise when they are censured for doing so.
However, I never shrink from a challenge and I'm cranky today so long time readers of this blog know what that means....
A CRANKY CATHY POST!
Ladies and Gentlemen: Because I think that's what you are. Why don't you dress like ladies or gentlemen? Why do some of you look like you came to Mass wearing what you had on in bed? I've seen people at Beer Busts that are better dressed then some of the faithful in the pews.
Now, before you start with the But, But, But, Cathy
Why? Why do you dress in a stained Budweiser t-shirt, frayed denim shorts and flip-flops when you go to Mass? Is it because you are on vacation? Gee, did you fail to realize that Sunday comes every 7 days and it caught you by surprise? Are you too pressed for time to put a nice outfit in your luggage? Yet, you just spent 60 minutes trying to hook up your boat and organize DVDs for the trip.
Is your attitude thus: "Well, no one should say ____about my attire because I am here. At least I came" Yes, you did and do you feel like we need to fall at your feet for that? Well, aren't you special. And, no, we won't.
Would you talk like this to your Mother? "Well, Mom, you should not be upset that I came 2 hours late to dinner with no valid excuse because at least I deigned to make an appearance. Too bad, that you had to keep the chicken warming in the oven and it dried out to accomodate my lazy ---" If you DO talk to your Mother like that slap yourself upside the head.
The same disrespectful attitude is at work in both of the examples that I outlined above. The Lord should be grateful that I bothered to show up even though I'm fully aware that I did not make my best effort in doing so. Really, I made no effort at all. And my attitude is belligerent defiance.
Really. Belligerent defiance. Have you ever had to talk with someone about the inappropriatness of their attire? I have. That's exactly the response you will get if they are not genuinely clueless. Why? Because they KNOW that what they have on is not appropriate but they are furious that you have dared to tell them so. Even though, frankly, they've been daring you to say something all along.
I see this in my workplace. Give an inch, some take a yard. My workplace is thinking of going back to business formal attire from our current practice of business casual because too many people are dressing completely inappropriately for work. Midriff bearing shirts, t-shirts, sports jerseys, capris that are really shorts, cleavage bearing tops, spaghetti straps, wife beaters, micro-minis, ripped jeans, flip-flops.
This is the workplace; but I bet all of us have seen these clothes at Mass haven't we?
If it's not appropriate for work, is it appropriate for Mass? If it's not modest, is it appropriate for Mass? Are you going to Mass to be noticed by God or the cute guy in the 3rd pew?
Would you dress slovenly for a job interview and expect to get the job? If you dress better for a job interview then you do for Mass what does this say about your priorities and how much more you value and respect your career then honoring your Lord? Your career is a gift to you from God and THIS is how you thank Him?A few frequent excuses:
* No one else "dresses up". (This is so junior high. No one else wears jeans from Sears. Baa, Baa, Whine..Whine..)
*I want to be cool (Babe, you're a Catholic. You are SO not cool to begin with. You ARE the counterculture so look like it!)
*I don't have time (Yes, you do. Put your clothes out the night before. Get up earlier. This mean you who have kids too)
*Society has become more casual, thus it's ok for me to look sloppy. (Society has become more casual. Is this a good thing? Someday, I may blog about the perceived correlation between the decline in the dress code with the decline in civility)
*Since Vatican II we don't have to dress up (Actually, that's not true. Since Vatican II you don't even have to wear clothes. We have reverted back to the Garden of Eden. Kidding! But, I can see some numbskull trying to blame VII)The all-time King of either-or threats:Well, is it better if I just not go at all rather then sit here and worry about what I have on?
If there is a personal choice between not seeing you in all your disrespectful "glory" and looking at your underwear that is peeking thru the hole in your jeans, I would rather you stayed home. But, it's not for me to be judgemental about you. You must judge yourself. However, look at your attitude. You are saying: If you don't want to just let me do what I want without saying anything and be who I want to be I just won't bother and I hate you (and now you are exactly like the gangsters). If that's your position: Why are you a Catholic? Why do you even have a membership in the Church? Any church? Why do you believe in Jesus? Why do you hope for heaven? If we could all just be who we wanted without any thought or consideration given to anyone else or consequences why bother with Christianity? Why strive to be better? To be a part of a Faith is about fighting our natural inclinations. My natural inclination is to sit around at home on my butt all day and eat. However, the Faith I profess tells me that laziness and gluttony are sinful. If your natural inclination is to look like a prostitute or a griller at a Vikings tailgate party before you go to Mass, fight it.
What if one day all the priests showed up to celebrate Mass in T-shirt and shorts and did not vest but just wore the t-shirt and shorts at the altar? Would you be upset? Think about it. You should be. He's offering our prayers to God and he's consecrating the Host and he looks like that?! The priest is required to make an effort with his appearance. Why can't we?
I've seen homeless people make a better effort at dressing for Mass then those of us who are blessed to have a roof over our heads. I know a poor widower who wears a suit that's 40 years old to Mass but it's his best piece of clothing and it's clean.
Wear the best and the most appropriate clothing you have. why BE like everyone else? We are Catholics, we are NOT like everyone else. We are beautiful, reverent and modest, so let's look like it!
Here endeth the rant.