Saturday, December 08, 2007

Priestly service

Some of us over at Catholic Dads have recently been discussing kids at Mass. They are often a distraction, but taking them is part of their training and they belong there as Catholics.

But a thought occurred to me today at Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. As fathers, we have a priestly role for our domestic church, our family. And what would one think if the priest decided to sit down and watch the consecration because he wanted to "not be distracted" by being in the service of the people?

As a father we are consecrating our children to God, and by becoming a father we have given up the right to spend our Sunday's at Mass simply for ourselves. We become servants to our children in the way that the priest is the servant of his spiritual children. So my time at Mass is spent training and building up my children rather than immersed deeply in private prayer.

1 comment:

Bear-i-tone said...

Years ago, I was up north at a very small church for Mass. When I say small I mean small- size of the bottom floor of the average house. The priest there was one of the most conservative I have ever met. At any rate, elder- who was a little over two at the time- was being loud. Not bad, per se, just loud. She would get bored and tap her feet on the wooden floor, which in that church sounded like BOOM BOOM BOOM. I'd whisper to her to stop and she would say in her piercing voice: "Why Daddy? WHy do you want me to stop?" And so on. Finally, around the homily, I decided the other parishioners had suffered enough, and I picked her up to take her outside. I was halfway down the aisle when I heard a voice thunder from the ambo: "Where are you taking that child?"

I turned around and saw the priest was addressing me. Feeling very embarrassed, I muttered something about taking her out so as not to disturb the other parishioners. "Return to your pew," the priest commanded. "As a Catholic it is her right to attend Mass as best as she is able. As her father it is your duty to bring her to Mass. For the rest of us, it is our responsibility to give a good example on behaviour at Mass. Furthermore, if anyone here is upset with a young child being a young child, they are not good Catholics."

He went on for a little longer. Abashed, I returned to my seat. I expect good behaviour from my daughters, but I don't expect them to be adults before their time. If the people around can't accept that... I can't help them.