June 6, 2012

Summertime Modesty in Church - First Amendment

In response to my original post, "Summertime Modesty in Church", someone asked me, "Well, what about if you're at the beach?"

You know what, folks?  It's still church.  It ain't Beach Blanket Bingo.  It's still church.  Even at the beach.  There's an old saw that people in poorer parishes look like they're going to the beach and people in affluent parishes look like they're coming from the beach.  Either way, clean up your act and dress appropriately.

Do I really have to explain this?


If someone important were coming to your house, or you were going to visit an amazing celebrity, wouldn't you want to look your best?  Tidy up?  Comb your hair?  Brush your teeth?  Put on your makeup?  Dress your best?

Of course!

So are you telling me that a mere mortal with momentary celebrity status deserves more effort and shine on your part than The Creator Of The Universe?  Really?

Just checking.

"But, it's summer time.  It's hoooooooot out!" is a common comeback.

Okay.  Yes.  I know.  I'm in tune with the weather.  I'm aware that it's hot out.  Does your car not have air conditioning?  Does your church not have air conditioning?  Do you live in a gutter in sub-Saharan Africa?  Is it really going to kill you to dress appropriately and, perhaps, be slightly uncomfortable for one measly hour a week?

Offer it up and get a grateful soul out of purgatory!

"But.....God loves me the way I am!" is another favorite defensive comeback.  Does He?  Of course He does!  You love your own children just the way they are, don't you?  Of course you do!


(There's always a "but," isn't there?)

However, do you expect your children to STAY just the way they are?  I mean, honestly, show me a parent who hasn't corrected his or her child at least once today in an effort to help that child grow into a better person.  As a parent, I constantly am telling my children to sit up straight, say please and thank you, clean up your own mess, and don't eat the dog's food (...well, fortunately that last one really only applies to the toddler).

You get the idea.

It is BECAUSE I love my children so much that I correct them and strive every day to shape them, not only into a better person, but into the fullness of the lovely person whom God has created them to be!  When my children arrive at The Pearly Gates -- please, God! -- I want St. Peter to smile, but a big gold check mark next to their name, and wave them on to Jesus, Who's first words will be, "Well done, My good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:23).

Because isn't that what it's all about?  (No, not the Hokey-Pokey.)  To know, love, and serve Him in this world in order to be happy with Him forever in the next!

So, the next time you're headed off to church, ask yourself this: For whom are you dressing?  The boy in the next pew?  Your own self-comfort?  The beach party you're headed to afterward?

Or have you really taken a moment to prepare yourself (physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally) not only to meet but to worship Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe, the Maker of your soul, and the joy of your heart!?


Anonymous said...

One of the blessings of living in our day and age is the wonderful gift of Air Conditioning (or refrigerated air, as the older folks used to call it). I am a man, and I want to wear a tie and even a sports jacket to Mass. I will do so until it gets to be over 90 and then I will just leave the jacket at home when it is sweltering. But when I wear the jacket, I always button it when I rise to get into the communion line. Why not? I want to look my best as I approach the throne and fount of grace.
I won't even start to talk about the beach. It is impossible to go to the beach in the summer where there are other people... uh... women and girls... It's like "how many extra days do I want to spend in purgatory?" If women would understand how difficult it is for men when the women dress with so little fabric...

Surretha said...

Wonderfully put, Maria!

materetmagistra said...

One of our former priests once mused in a homily: Young people come to Mass dressed to play sports saying they have a game right afterwards. Why don't you ever see someone dressed up at a sporting event because they have to go to Mass right afterwards? Ouch! So since that time, my children have packed many a bag with a uniform to change into after Mass and I've shown up in the bleachers wearing blouse and skirt.
As for the Hokey-Pokey, it's really not as far off from what it's all about as you might think. Hocus Pocus is actually a little bit closer - as "hocus pocus" is a corruption of "Hoc est enim corpus meum", the words of consecration in Latin. Say it fast, you'll sort of hear it. And as we know, that is what it's all about!

Ave Momma said...

Thank you so much for weighing in from the gentlemen's quarter! My husband and sons concur.

Ave Momma said...

Hey, it's true! You DO learn something new every day! Thank you for the Latin lesson, and for posting your thoughtful and practical remarks.

Melissa Mudd said...

What a wonderful post. Going to Mass is one of THE most important thing we do in our lives and I want my children to realize this a reflect it to others. Jesus was beaten, humiliated and hung on a cross for me. I can be a little warm in my "Sunday Best" for him.