The feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated at the Mass I attended last night. It was an interesting exercise in contrasts.
The church was pretty full, not packed but not a lot of vacant pews either. Interesting thing about going to Our Lady of Grace, at least the Sunday evening service. You never know how many people will be there. Some nights will be at 10% capacity, with some others at 80%. And for no apparent reason. This is a phenomenon that seems to be peculiar to this particular mass at this particular parish. Odd...
The opening hymn was the good 'ole Gather Us In. So we were off to an inauspicious start. But then I noticed that the Altar Boy & Girl were wearing what appeared to be brand-new Cossocks & Surplices!!! Two thumbs up! The "albs" appear to have vanished - hopefully for good this time. Back before I began to blog, in January, if I recall, I commented elsewhere about how, after years and years, the servers had switched from the albs to the old (literally) Cassock & Surplice. A move so bold, so earth shattering, that it merited an announcement from the altar by the priest. He dutifully commented that we should have no fear, the albs were not going away forever, they just felt that the more traditional forms were more appropriate! I was amazed!! Alas, they reappeared for Easter season, much to my chagrin. But now the C&S are back. and this time they appear to be brand-new!
Then, there was a wonderful Sermon. And all very traditional hymns. Then, at the end of the Mass, Father proceeded to process around the inside of the church, with the Monstrance, while we sang Tantum Ergo Scramentum. A very moving sight. Very.
I wonder how many people there appreciate. Really appreciate. What they are experiencing. I know that many times I have not, or at least not paid attention. However, in my most heathenistic moments, I have never treated Church or the Mass as a thing of disdain. Even when I was just going though the motions I at least went through the motions!!!! But what do I see all around me? Ragged shorts, tees, and flip-flops. All combined with a slack-assed, I'm waaaaay too cool to care about this attitude and body language. (I was a professional salesman in a past life, and a damn good one, too. I know how to read body language) Is it just me, and am I allowing my personal prejudices to interfere with my judgement? I mean, If I hated Mass that much, I'd go somewhere else.
Is it parents that are trying to do the "right thing" by dragging their kids to church? If so, you're not doing them any favors. If you can drag them to church, how about dragging them to their closet for some decent clothes!!!! Not necessarily a suit, but a clean shirt with a collar, maybe a tie, and some real pants and shoes!!
The psychology is not hard to follow. For the parents OR the kids. They don't look respectful, they don't dress respectful, how the hell can they be expected to ACT respectful. How the hell can people who dress says "I don't give a s*** " be expected to act like they do??!!
Perhaps for some this will be outside their personal experiance, but here in the south, every Sunday morning and evening (yes, they manage to go TWICE a day), at every Baptist Church, you will see crowds of people dressed in suits and ties, or at least khaki's and shirts and ties, going to church, and acting like human beings!!! And they don't have the real presence to respect. Why then, do Catholics feel like it is their right, or actually more like their duty, to wear shorts and tee shirts??? Can someone answer that question????