Okay. I have a problem with parishioners who carry on whole conversations in the sanctuary before or after Mass. We have a great gathering place outside two nice double doors and I can’t understand why, if it’s that important, they can’t take it outside.
The shaking of hands during Mass (outside the Kiss of Peace–and that’s another topic for another day), backslapping during said Kiss of Peace, turning around and blowing kisses and flashing the hippie Peace Sign, also drive me crazy. Walking up to communion chewing gum (where does that go when one places the Body and Blood of Christ in one’s mouth?) and dressing inappropriately for Mass are also on my list of non-sacred liturgical practices. (sic)
Today, though, I just want to address the blabbing. It is Lent, so I’m struggling for a way to overcome the fact that I begin each Mass with a heart that is kinda resentful–no, that’s beingtoo kind to myself–my heart is very resentful at the beginning of Mass. Here’s what I have done.
After genuflecting and going into the pew, I kneel to pray and close my eyes. At least, I don’t have to see who is doing the talking. I don’t open them again until the processional begins. I am also experimenting with earplugs and discreet headphones that play Gregorian Chant or some other truly sacred music in those 20 minutes before Mass begins. Then, I can reread the readings and my meditations (have to open my eyes for that) without as much distraction.
After Mass is over, Charlie and I have begun to kneel and pray the Salve Regina, and the prayer to St. Michael together. This lets everyone around us know that we are not available for idle chitchat. However, so far, it has not led to people filing out of the sanctuary quietly. **chuckle and big sigh**
I wish I could be bolder and just jump up and say, “Will you all be quiet, please!” But, then, that would be another “non-sacred, liturgical practice,” wouldn’t it?
My daughter, Patty, says that when she is being irritated by people, she tries some deep breathing, where she breathes out the irritation and breathes in the Holy Spirit. Maybe I’ll add that to my arsenal, too. Can’t hurt.