Observations In Church

First, please let me say, this is not a religious post.

When I was a child my mother would take me and my three siblings to mass each week. In church, she would instruct us to behave. Behaving meant that we were to sit quietly and follow the direction of the priest. When he directed the parish to stand, we stood. When he said kneel, we knelt. And of course, we he said pray, we bowed our heads and prayed.

This was our expected behavior.

Of course, my mother wasn’t beyond bribing us. One time, during silent prayer, one of my siblings asked, “Are we behaving enough to go to McDonalds?” adding in after the snickers of the parish, “now?”

Fast forward many years.  My husband, a middle school teacher, comes home from work and asked, “Did the Catholic church start allowing beverages during Mass?” I made some water and wine comment. “Because I was listening to some seventh graders today and this one girl told a story about being late to church because her mom stopped to get her a Frappuccino.” I shrugged.

“She didn’t get to drink it though because she spilled it in the pew.” I stared.

“Frappuccino in the pew?”

“Yeah – but she didn’t clean it up because, you know,” in his best teenage girl voice, “God forgives.”

I was stunned.

Fast forward to Christmas Mass a few weeks ago, a mother with two teenage daughters next to us sat on their phones prior to the start of the service. About fifteen minutes in, mom pulls out bottles of Gatorade and they sit and sip through a good part of the service.

Today three rows in front of me, a man in his 30’s drank a Monster, texted, and scrolled through Facebook while our minister spoke about the need for even for five minutes of silence during our hectic days.

I must ask, when did phones, and drinks in church become acceptable? Next thing you know, we will have wine bars in the back.

The human body can easily sustain itself for an hour, about the length of the religious services I am writing about, without food or beverage. The human mind should be able to rest for that length of time too.

The benefits of delayed gratification, especially with children, include learning patience and working for a reward. By not teaching this concept, getting what one wants immediately becomes a terrible habit that leads to a “me first” approach to life.

The day my brother spoke during silent prayer we may have still ended up at McDonald’s for dinner, although I can’t be certain. He broke proper decorum. And my mom isn’t a push over…then or now.

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