The Mass? Yep, the Mass.
In the last article, I revealed how, one of the reasons that I left the Catholic Church is because I didn't like to kneel and pray. It seemed excruciating torture to me. And it was forced upon me by my parents, especially my grandmother, whenever she prayed. Therefore, I learned, at a very young age, to despise and avoid prayer at all costs.
My disliking the Mass at that age, is partly for a similar reason. But there is more to it. Foremost, I think, is that, at that young age, when they dragged me to Mass, they expected me to sit still. In those days, cry rooms were unknown, and I was a fidgety kid. So, throughout the Mass, I would be rapped on the head with knuckles, elbowed and shushed until it was an experience I did not want to repeat.
Mention the Mass, guess what happened to this kid. I would disappear.
There was more, however. I was a young boy. And I couldn't help but notice that the Mass seemed to be a woman thing. My dad had died before I was born. So, my mom and grandmom, had to rely on my uncle to drive us to Mass. And he would oblige. But he would drop us off and pick us up.
And he wasn't the only one. On the way in to Church, we passed by a lot of men of varying ages, sitting on the stoop. They would wait for their mothers, wives and daughters, outside.
And across the street, there were a group of men with guitars and beer bottles, singing and having fun.
Except for the Priest and a few elderly men, there were very few men in the pews.
So guess where this little boy wanted to be? I wanted to be a man. And men, didn't go to Church.
Later, as I grew up, there was no adequate reason given to me why I should attend the Mass. Maybe I missed that day in Catechism class. Or maybe I just didn't understand it when it was explained to me. But, except for someone saying to me that it was a mortal sin to not attend the Mass, I didn't have a clue why I had to go. Especially when most of the men in my life, didn't think it necessary either.
I drew several lessons from this.
First, most kids are fidgety. I was determined, that when we took our children to Mass, we wouldn't make it a burden for them. So, when they began to fidget, I would immediately take them outside and let them tire themselves out. And when they had worn the wiggle out of themselves, I'd come back in.
Relatedly, our children were raised in the pews. We are daily communicants and have always been since my children were born. So, they learned, very early on, how to behave in the Mass. Its much easier to ingrain a behavior in a child daily, than to expect them to remember to behave a certain way, once a week. In addition, the daily Mass is much shorter in duration, so they get incrementally adjusted to it.
Let's give our boys and young men a good example. Women have been holding the fort all alone for too long. Real men, go to Church, go to Mass and pray.
Children learn by example. This is something which I knew to be true. So, I determined that I would give my children the example that they could follow. And that I would never ask them to do anything which I would not also do.
And finally, reasons. Folks, you can't give anyone that which you don't have. How would you respond to a child that asks you, "Why should I go to Mass?" Do you know why you should go to Mass?
I'm certain I'll give my response to this question in a later article. So, I'll leave it at that for now.