Saturday, May 05, 2007
Dressing for Mass
What is it about the Novus Ordo Mass that inspires people to come dressed as they are? Sometimes I wonder if they are coming to Mass in the clothes they slept in, and now that warmer weather is approaching, I cringe at the thought of having to look at EMHC standing in the sanctuary in their summer shorts and casual blouses and flip flops for shoes. Respectful dress should be a given for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and it shouldn't be that hard for the liberal Catholics to wrap their minds around, especially since they mostly think of the Mass as the Lord's Supper, rather than a sacrifice. If they were going to the banquet of an earthly king, what would they wear? Surely not their Sunday worst. Why then is it so common to see people dressed disrespectfully at Holy Mass?
My guess is that it has to do with the whole downplaying of all things sacred and holy in the modern Church. There is very little in the way of sacred architecture to elevate the heart and mind to prayer, and this is reflected in the party atmosphere before and after Mass, where people are talking, even shouting, at each other in animated conversation. Sometimes it seems like a backyard barbecue rather than a Mass.
I know there are those who will say, "At least they have come to Mass. Jesus will overlook their dress." Ah, yes! At least they have come to Mass. We should never let circumstances that are beyond our control and prevent us from changing our clothing, keep us from Holy Mass. But it has to start from somewhere. Maybe if everyone begins to dress respectfully for Mass, then they will start to act respectfully as well. If we create a worshipful environment, starting with ourselves, the rest is sure to follow.