18 July 2010


Punk Catholic Thought of the Week XIV

There is no such thing as a distraction during Mass . . . as long as the celebrant keeps going.

Remember what my old Religion teacher said: "The Mass is not a movie!" I saw yet another aspect of that recently, and that was what inspired this post.

I think we shot ourselves in the foot the second we started worrying about certain fashions or customs being too "distracting" for Mass. It's all very polite of us to consider these things--polite to both God and man. But since the same arguments against immodest and sloppy clothes are being used against gorgeous liturgical vestments ("We're not focussing on the Mass, if we're distracted by the beauty of the church!"), I thought I'd put my punk foot down . . .

Distractions You Should Probably Welcome
When They Come in the Middle of Mass

During the Entrance Antiphon: You notice one of your parish's most notorious sinners, who hasn't been to Mass in years, taking up room in the front pew. People are whispering about it, but he keeps his eyes straight ahead.

During the Gloria: You find yourself staring a stained glass window. The sunlight is making the colours so beautiful it is as if this piece of art is joining in to sing God's praises.

During the Psalm: You are struck by the cantor's lovely voice and wonder if Heaven sounds like that.

During the Gospel: You suddenly receive a flash of insight--the answer to something you have been praying for over several weeks.

During the Homily: You hear the person beside you weeping. When you turn to her, she whispers, "Can't you see the Angels?"

During the Consecration: You remember someone you haven't thought of in years--the oddest person to think of--and feel compelled to commend him to God immediately.

During the Elevation: You behold a vision of the Child Jesus in place of the Host.

During Communion: You witness a Eucharistic miracle as all the Hosts the priest is holding turn to flesh and blood.

Distractions, distractions . . . What are they good for, aye?

Now, first of all, every irregular thing that happens during Mass that can (and should) be commended to God. Secondly, many irregular things that happen during Mass might actually come straight from God.

If going to daily Mass has taught me anything, it is that this prayer of the Church goes on whether or not I drag my carcass to church that day. My physical presence is not a deciding factor in the "success" of this prayer, and my occasional bouts of mental absence do not mean some sort of failure.

The important things are that Jesus' once and for all sacrifice has been offered . . . that it is made present again all over the world wherever there is a priest to say Mass . . . that there is always a Mass being said at any given moment . . . and that the "grace to stand in His presence and serve Him" is all we really need.

People who protest about perfectly good things being a "distraction" from God are really whining about something else. And since I don't want them whining in my combox, I'm closing comments again this week.

Image Source: Mass stampita