Monday, April 04, 2005

Irreverence during Mass

On Easter Vigil and yesterday at Mass, I had a difficult time concentrating. During the Easter Vigil, throughout the entire service, the woman behind me prayed along with the priest, and not in a whisper. Every word the priest spoke, she spoke. Even the prayers he prayed silently. Sure it's great to know what the priest is saying, but really, is what she was doing really necessary? I don't think so.

Then yesterday, I showed up to Mass a few minutes late and slid into one of the pews in the back. In front of me, there was a woman who was alone, there was a young couple in my pew on the other end, and there was a woman with her two daughters behind me. The mother and her girls talked and giggled throughout Mass, even during the consecration.

After Mass was over, I leaned over and mentioned to the mom in her ear, I didn't want her to think I was lecturing her in front of her daughters, that it is very difficult to be prayerful when people are talking during Mass. She says in a very loud voice letting everyone who is filing out of the church hear the conversation, "who's talking? We weren't talking!"

And now she and her daughters and a friend who stopped by were giving me dirty looks. I knew it was them, but I said, "maybe it was someone behind you, but I just found myself unable to concentrate on the Mass because there was loud talking and giggling directly behind me. The mother turned her back on me and began talking rudely about me to her friend who stopped by.

When things like this happen during Mass, I pray for the ability to concentrate on the service and to ignore what is going on around me. The problem there is that that's all I can pray about. I wanted to wait to talk to her after Mass because I was so angry earlier. I thought waiting would be better so that I could calm down a bit. Maybe I shouldn't have waited, but I didn't want to end up being the rude one.


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