Agere Contra

Do you ever not want to go to Mass? Do you have all kinds of reasons? Here are a few:

1) It’s no longer obligatory.

1a) It’s obligatory, and that’s an impingement on my freedom. 

2) Nobody there likes me.

2a) I’m an introvert and can’t stand the socializing.

3) The people near me talk during Mass.

3a) Nobody will talk to me.

4) It’s a half-hour drive.

4a) It’s too early in the morning.

5) The bathrooms are kind of icky.

5a) There are no bathrooms.

5b) The bathrooms are down a flight of stairs in the basement and I have bad knees and a bad bladder.

6) I might run into the person I had an argument with a few years ago and haven’t spoken to since.

6a) I might run into that irritating guy from work.

6b) That family with the whining kids will probably sit behind me.

7) The air conditioning isn’t very good.

7a) The heat doesn’t work.

8) It’s a drag bringing heavy books along. 

8a) Everyone is staring at the daily reading app on their phone.

9) The music is atrocious.

9a) They won’t let me sing in the choir.

9b) I don’t want to sing in the choir and now they’re offended and think I’m a snob.

10) It’s supposed to be this amazing supernatural event, and everyone traipses around irreverently.

10a) Everyone’s traipsing around with such fussy reverence that charity’s gone out the window.

11) I hate wearing a covid mask.

11a) Other people there aren’t wearing their masks like they should.

12) People come in wearing awful inappropriate clothes.

12a) I hate having to dress up for Mass. What does God care?

13) The beggars outside the church make me nervous.

13a) I’d rather sit outside with the beggars than inside with all those hypocrites.

14) This priest gives the longest, most boring sermons ever.

14a) This priest thinks he’s an entertainer, with his boisterous sermons.

15) The altar servers are incompetent, it’s so irreverent.

15a) They use girls as altar servers, it’s so irreverent.

15b) I would never be an altar server, I’d be afraid of being criticized for messing up.

16) All they want is money.

16a) You’d think they could maintain the church, it’s falling apart. 

17) There aren’t any interesting parish activities.

17a) Everyone’s always trying to rope me into participating in parish activities.

18) They never have confession scheduled before Mass.

18a) The lines for confession are too long.

18b) No one has a right to tell me how to live my life. 

19) This priest is too rigid, always talking about hell.

19a) This priest is too lax, as if everyone’s going to heaven.

19b) I brought my gay friend once and the priest had to choose that day to preach about sodomy.

20) The Magisterium is clearly a bunch of hypocrites. Why should I show support for that by showing up?

When My Lord was crucified, how many stayed with him? Can I be one of them?

illustration from the Speculum Darmstadt

All the little boxes

I don’t know anyone who fits in the categories provided by surveys, Twitter rants, or news articles. All of them are real human beings, with tangled lives and complicated opinions. Some of them may even appear, at a glance, to easily fit the stereotype of this or that – the drug-addled homeless man begging for change, the radical young activist enthused about confronting some kind of revolution, the stuffy old lady frowning down her nose at the neighbors. But that’s a vague impression that falls apart if one actually gets to know the person, spends time with them, and ignores ones own lazy tendency to chuck people into little boxes and then treat them with appropriate prejudice.

Half the babbling on about things people do is not thoughtful, considered speech, but just an unedited releasing whatever mental babble is circulating in their minds (this blog serves that purpose for me, especially if my husband is busy and doesn’t need to hear my nonsense). I like listening sometimes, though I sometimes run out of sympathy with other people’s nonsense, especially if it is not personal, but just repetition of still other people’s nonsense, such as political intrigues or scandals collected from the news. At least babble about your own life!

Interesting: I’m really worried that someone might watch what I do all day.

Boring: Did you hear Bill Gates is going to inject us all with microchips?