Your Example At Mass
May 07, 2014
Filed In: Fatherhood
It happens twice a year. Every Christmas and every Easter, without fail, our parishes are full of strangers. They fill our seats, they park in our spots, and some are even still using the old translation of the Mass.
I’m not a perfect person. I get frustrated on Easter Sunday and Christmas with the influx of people. I’m not mad that they’re at Mass or about where they park or even where they stick. I’m frustrated that their body language screams that they don’t want to be there and it’s incredibly distracting. What really struck me this Easter was the number of fathers whose body language was telling me that they didn’t want to be there. What made a bigger impression was watching their children take cues from this negative body language.
Parents who take their children to Mass occasionally send a mixed message about what’s important. More is caught than taught. It can be confusing to a child, why they’re going to church some Sundays, but not others. An even bigger challenge is how your children see you act at Mass.
This issue isn’t just one for Catholics who come and go. All of us fathers need to watch how we act at Mass. Our body language is telling our kids something. If we’re too casual, our kids won’t understand the gravity and awe of the Mass. If we’re too frigid, we might not communicate the inner joy that we’re experiencing.
The key to our Mass behavior is to be respectful. We want to participate actively in the Mass and we want to show our children that we both believe in what we’re doing and that we want to be there. We want our children to feel comfortable and refreshed at Mass.
Our non-verbal body language will teach our children a lot about our attitudes towards our faith. Let’s make sure they’re getting the right message.