My First Things piece this week confesses that I sometimes seek out a music-less mass at an early hour, just to escape the rambunctious irreverence that sometimes makes Sunday mass an opportunity to practice the virtue of patience…and endurance:
Perhaps it is different where you worship, but in my parish—and I would count mine as one of the “quieter” and “more reverent” in our area—that sort of preparation is nearly impossible. The choir and musicians are noisily setting up, talking and laughing. The people in the pews—of all ages—are “being community” with such a boisterous disregard for time or place that a priest recently halted his robing to stride out from the sacristy and call, “excuse me! This is not a movie theater; it’s not Grand Central Station. Have a little consideration, please. There might actually be a couple of people here who are, you know . . . praying.”
I know it sounds like “get off my lawn” but the piece takes a turn that may surprise you. Check it out.
Perhaps folks have to first recognize their own need to quiet down. Then they might recognize it in the needs of others, too, and behave accordingly, but it starts with understanding the value of recollection, to begin with. Something that fundamental is no longer obvious to our very distracted culture.
There is no reason why a community at mass cannot contain a sense of recollection. If we no longer understand that recollection is worthwhile, then we really do have to start re-catechizing from the bottom up, again. The saints will help us!
Mike Hayes expresses a similar thought
Mary DeTurris Poust: Pose by Pose, Amen and Om