Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Growing Up

I and a lot of my friends couldn’t call ourselves Sunday Catholics. There are more than a few of us who don’t attend to Mass on Sundays or, if we do, it’s to accompany one we care about.

That there are a number of us is odd considering that we grew up in a Catholic institution, with First Friday Masses and Theology classes up to our last semester in college. We were taught the doctrine, history, and philosophy of our faith. Now, quite a few do not participate in the more basic sacraments. A few of my friends even thought of being priests. Now, let’s just say that none of them currently lead a life of even single blessedness.

The reasons we give to profess this contrast vary, from simple rebellion from what we were to a lack of belief in organized religion.

My own reason is simple. It’s just that I don’t get as much out of attending Mass as I think I once did. I feel no inspiration on rambling sermons on topics that have no close relation to me, no sense of community with the pews full of strangers. When I do go, I pretty much just give thanks, for the life I lead and those I have with me. But I can and do just give thanks on my own time, in my own way, and not necessarily on a Sunday.

It occurred to me that I was simply spoiled in my younger years. The Mass was celebrated by members of an order that strives for intelligence and eloquence. The messages are clear and concise, sometimes dramatic and sometimes amusing. And the message was always to a select crowd, grade school kids, high school kids, or even just a single class. Close ages, a narrow demographic, all male, and we all knew on another, some for over a decade.

Those years have long come and gone for me, and I have trouble finding motivation to attend a Mass in the real world, with the masses of people unknown to me, with a priest who tries to speak to all of us but can’t seem to reach me personally.

I can continue to do what I have, to simply remember the days when I attended Mass in the way it was meant to be celebrated, with a community, priest and parishioners, of people familiar with one another and similar hopes and dreams.

Or I can do what one does when one is in the real world, grow up. I know that, now, things aren’t always handed to me at regular intervals. A lot of the time, I have to look for and work to shape things into the way that I want or need. So I know I can find my community, I can find the sense of doing things in the way they are meant to, and reap the joy of having done so.

I just have to.

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