After observing some childish behavior on the part of an adult today at Mass, I reflected on how much I want to comport myself with the dignity consonant with a human being created in the image of God and especially with being a Catholic Christian. I remembered how my devout Protestant grandmother always conducted herself with simple, quiet, dignity and self-discipline, both at home and outside the home, no matter what was going on around her. Does anyone have any thoughts on what is truly “Catholic comportment” and how it can be encouraged in self and others?
Sounds to me that your grandmother gave you a perfect example of Catholic comportment even though she wasn’t Catholic. All you can do is model it for others.
I think you already know the answer…your post is very revealing. Your grandmother sounds like a great example. Man is not only created in the image and likeness of God; man is created for an eternal personal relationship with God. All of our human relationships are but mere shadows of the relationship that we are supposed to have with God.
We are to love one another as ourselves and yet this is quite secondary to the relationship we have with God. We are to love God with our whole mind, heart, soul, and strength. This means more than we typically imagine. What we must do is meditate on our Creator and all that He is and all that He has done. When we contemplate the greatness and power of our loving God, we begin to get an insight into the level of reverence is due Him.
We are mere creatures of no significance at all in comparison to God. Yet God loves us beyond measure. There is no amount of reverence for God that is excessive. If anything, we all fall extremely short in that regard. Our behavior and reverence at mass should always be the best that we can offer.
I know this can be frustrating, please try and pray for this person that seemed childish to you. Perhaps they are struggling with their faith, perhaps they were being tempted by Satan to be disruptive to others and take away from the beauty of the Mass. When I have seen these inappropriate behaviors, especially during Mass, prayer for the individual always seems to put things in perspective and helps me much. Hope this helps, not sure if that is the answer you were seeking. Welcome to the forums!
Yes, my grandmother was a great example and I strive to live up to it but I often fail. I agree with what others have said about the importance of our comportment at Holy Mass and our need to pray for those who behave badly. What I think I am mostly looking for are thoughts on how we as Catholics are to be in the world and how we can help “raise the bar” generally whether at church, at work, on the street, or at home. I found the MP3 audio sermons of Fr. Ripperger (FSSP) on modesty helpful:
He explains the Thomistic view of modesty, which goes beyond proper dress into all aspects of behavior. The struggle is how to put these teachings into practice.
Funny someone should mention this. I just attended a mass offered by Father Ripperger, my first E.F. Mass (he’s the chaplain at an EF chapel about 45 minutes from where I live). Actually, the topic of his sermon was modesty and moderation. One thing, there was no immodest or inapproriate dress in that church - I felt underdressed in a polo shirt and khakis.
In the school where I teach, this falls under “Human Formation”.
Sounds like grandma was the model .
This is bigger than a Catholic thing. Our world has lost the idea of “good manners”, of how to behave as polite people.
When was the last time you saw a man stand up when a lady enters the room, when someone wrote you a thank you note, when a child said “yes sir, no ma’am”, when someone knew how to do a proper introduction?
We celebrate belching in public these days.
Yes, and yawning till one’s tonsils show. Since originally starting this thread I found another good resource called The Catholic Manual of Civility by Marian Horvat. As Catholics we need to take the lead in restoring civility and the book tells how.
Do you know this person? We have a young man in our parish with a mental handicap. He loves God and the mass. He makes outbursts, but more as an unofficial MC. He loudly welcomes the priest at the beginning of mass and even let’s us know when to sit or stand or kneel. He really belts out the recessional song. We have worked with him and given him various tasks such as being an usher. I am sure it was unnerving for visitors at first, but by the end of mass everyone is smiling for him. He recently went off to “school” and we all miss him.
This all took place at the Sunday evening mass that has a bit more of casual comportment to it.
Yes, the elements of Catholic comportment are embodied in the Beatitudes and the Law of Love given to us by Christ. They are the application of the Cardinal Virtues. If we cultivate and demonstrate the virtues, we are comporting ourselves as Christ commands.
Great thread. I grapple with this issue every second of every day, constantly struggling with the flesh to live in the universal of The Spirit. Even as I type, I’m severely disappointed with myself. Last week I felt anger toward my elderly in-laws for their having stayed with us for three weeks. They’re very old, and probably shouldn’t be travelling as they do. I found myself thinking truly unChristian thoughts about them. It made me wonder about the strength of my commitment to discipleship, the standard by which I define myself. I love kids, so my patience with them is infinite, as a teacher. But what about the extreme elderly? I fell down on that one. I fell hard, and now seek God’s forgiveness. Discipleship…discipleship.
I know how you feel. But the good thing is that those moments make us realize why we need Grace. We really truly can’t do it ourselves, no matter how strong our commitment.
This is so very true. Praise God.