LIFESTYLE: Making peace with Church on Sundays
Being Italian and Roman Catholic, I have had a lot of church in my life. Add 7 years of parochial school, and you can say I am almost an expert at Sunday church going. And maybe it is because of that, I just have not been going in my adult life. You can say I have been "Churched Out." Now my daughter is in Catholic school, complete with Religion classes and a church visit with her classmates every Tuesday. SO when my husband began pushing us to participate in Mass on Sunday mornings as a family, I resisted. My excuses ranged from, "Too busy", "Too Tired", "Already Booked", "Our daughter has enough Church!", etc. Now I know many of you hard-core Catholics out there are horrified (my mother included), but I can't be the only one feeling this way. Even the Catholic Church is running a marketing campaign of "Catholics Come Home" to entice people like me to reconnect with The Church.
So now here we are in the throws of our daughter's first communion year, and after a parent meeting with our priest, I was persuaded to give Sunday church going another try. It wasn't the thick guilt trip our priest laid out on all of us, but the simple statement of "Be true to your children." He explained that children know dishonesty when they see it. And if we are pushing them down a path of Catholicism and having them go through the process of 1st communion, and yet we don't practice our faith in our households and as a family, than it is very confusing for them. It's downright hypocritical. And you know what, he was absolutely right!
So I arrived home that night telling my husband that Sunday we were turning over a new leaf. He laughed, saying that he had been wanting us to go for years. Outside of the getting up early and rushing my Sunday coffee time, it was not that bad. And something amazing happened while we were there.
I liked it.
Yep, after all the times I was forced to go and being bored or self-conscious (my childhood church was more about being seen than worship) I enjoyed having quiet time with my family. I enjoyed explaining parts of the mass to our daughter and singing with her. I enjoyed being part of a community that was bigger than me. Did I mention the quiet time? I realized that in our busy, hectic lives, we do not have anytime to be alone and quiet, to meditate or pray. And this is especially moving when it's not just you (like in Yoga), but you have your children and husband right there next to you. When do you as a family get to sit and "Be"? It dawned on me that this is probably one of the reasons my mother was so drawn to mass as well. A mother of three, she was always running around for or after one of us. For that hour on Sunday, we could all be together without the noise of the world and carve out some time for something bigger than ourselves.
I know that Sunday worship exists for many, many reasons, both secular and social. And, yes, it is in the commandments. But for me, it really brought to life the statement, "A family that prays together, stays together." I can see that now.