Unhappy Christmas Mass


#1

First the background. Father used to be a university teacher, and his homilies are always well thought out and relevant, about 15 minutes long. This Christmas sermon was about the best presents we could give anyone, especially Jesus, was our presence. Our Priest is retiring before the end of the liturgical year, so it was a last chance to hear his wonderful sermons. He warned us earlier in the month, that the C&E Catholics need to be encouraged to come back to church, and we should “be very welcoming”.
The woman next to me started quietly talking nonstop (not whispering) as soon as the gospel was finished. She and her 10 yr old discussed how much we worship Mary and the length of their skirts. About 10 minutes into the sermon when she started to show her daughter how to count the boards in the roof like she did when she was little I leaned over and said “Father is talking about being present to Jesus, and you’re counting roofboards?” (So ironic, hey?) She was quiet after that. We apoligised to each other during the sign of peace. They went up to communion, and right out the door. I am still feeling guilty, and wonder, what was the proper thing to do? What would you have done? Do I worry too much, like my hubby says?

Thanks
Lukelion


#2

:thumbsup:

you said what the holy spirit want you to say


#3

I wouldn’t worry about it. Anyone clueless enough to sit there gabbing all through Mass and even counting the number of roofboards doesn’t sound like the most spiritually attuned person. They no doubt had planned to leave right after receiving no matter what, so I wouldn’t make anything of that.

We had 2 women next to us in a packed church who were respectful during Mass, but they also left right after receiving. We can’t know why people do that. I highly doubt they had to be at work or anything like that, which would have been a legitimate excuse.

No one can make another understand what they don’t want to or make them do what they ought to do if they don’t want to. I wouldn’t give it another thought if I were you except to pray that this woman’s heart and mind might be opened to the true presence of Christ someday.


#4

I think you are like me - you take an action, that on the surface is correct, and then, when it has an effect you didn’t anticipate, you feel guilty about it and wish you had not taken the action.

I know that feeling. I have done it myself. On the surface, what you did was correct - you pointed out to the woman that she was being disrespectful and that she was teaching her child to be disrespectful. She responded with silence, which you wanted, and apologized. You apologized also - though I think you apologized for being ‘brusque’ maybe? I don’t know, that’s why I would have apologized - and now you feel guilty because she left early as though you had something to do with it.

Well, you really didn’t. She was not there for Jesus, or to be a part of the Body of Christ. She may have been planning on leaving early all along. You don’t know. What has been pointed out to me in the past, when I have felt as you do now, is that I have to reel in my own feelings of omnipotence here. I just don’t have that much power over someone else’s actions. You didn’t drive her out, and you won’t drive her back in…

So, say a prayer for her and give yourself a break…and by the way, that was quick thinking on your part! I would’ve probably just said something really clever like, “SSSHHHHH!!!”.


#5

[quote=LSK]She was not there for Jesus, or to be a part of the Body of Christ. She may have been planning on leaving early all along. You don’t know. What has been pointed out to me in the past, when I have felt as you do now, is that I have to reel in my own feelings of omnipotence here.
[/quote]

You’re right… we don’t know, including whether or not she was there for Jesus. She may have had the appearance of not having a clue why she was there, but that is appearance. We aren’t privy to what was going on between her and Jesus, or what assaults the tempter was using to keep her away from doing what she needed to do, and we shouldn’t presume to think that we do.

There is nothing wrong, OTOH, with cluing someone in when they are distracting one from the homily. If you, OP, felt you could have done it better somehow, or wanted to make sure she knew you had no intention of being inhospitable, the apology was fine, too.

You did the best you could at the time. Forgive yourself, forgive her–or I should say, allow God to forgive you both–and let God worry about how the guilt totals all add up. But since she and her daughter have so etched themselves in your mind, make the best of it and include them in your prayers. When you run into either one again in this life or the next, that is what you will really wish you had done.


#6

I also think you did the right thing, I’m sure she was just embarrassed. How sad that she is teaching her child how to improperly act during mass :frowning:


#7

[quote=Catholic mommy]I also think you did the right thing, I’m sure she was just embarrassed.
[/quote]

And maybe, just maybe, you planted a seed in her or her daughter’s heart, and one day it will grow and change their life… who knows.

It is our responsibility, I think, to admonish the sinner as well as the faithful (I hope when I do things wrong someone like yourself is there for the sake of my soul!).

The fact that you made amends by apologizing (as she did too), means that much more, too!

:thumbsup:


#8

I am still feeling guilty, and wonder, what was the proper thing to do? What would you have done? Do I worry too much, like my hubby says?

What exactly are you feeling guilty about? I don’t understand.

I think you judged her… something that was not your place to do. Someone said that she wasn’t there for Jesus? how do they know? You had no idea why she did what she did. Did she do wrong? Only God really knows. If the noise was bothering you, you had the right to tell her to be quiet. But to presume to know what was in her heart is not right. As a parent, my child is not always “into” the mass. I have to take time out of my enjoyment of mass to either discipline, teach, or distract my kid into not disturbing others so much. I would hate for someone to look at me and tell me that I don’t care about Jesus or that I wasn’t there for him. A mother does what she needs to do.

On the other hand, maybe your guess was right… her heart was in the wrong place and you were guided by the spirit to put her in her place. If that is the case, then why feel guilty? You did the work of the spirit. Offer it up to God and let him do the work in that woman’s heart as he sees fit.


#9

I had a similar situation at Christmas Eve Mass and I was disturbed by the talking family in front to me. They laughed, talked, leaned over to each other and even tried to talk some more. It was so horendous. I was thinking bad thoughts about them, and then felt guilty about even thinking uncharitable thoughts. I never did say anything, but I was close. I prayed that they would at least be quiet during the sermon, and they were.

On the way home from church my children (15, 22, and 25) all commented on the poor beharvior of the family. If my kids start talking, I give them “the mom look” and they stop. This particular mom encouraged and modeled poor behavior. It was sad to me.

However, God is in charge and perhaps they got something out of mass that night. Did you do the right thing? You got your point accross without cross words. I was not brave enough to say anything. I always wonder what is the right thing to do also.


#10

[quote=Lukelion]I am still feeling guilty, and wonder, what was the proper thing to do?
[/quote]

The proper thing would have been to whack her with a hymnal.


#11

[quote=Benedictus]The proper thing would have been to whack her with a hymnal.
[/quote]

:rotfl:

Thank you everyone for your insights!

Lukelion


#12

i once gently scolded a man at Mass who was saying the consecration prayers along with the priest. talk about distracting!!! you did the right thing - some people need to be reminded of Who’s House they’re in.


#13

I’m the family “pop-off”, so I probably would have done the same thing…or worse…Good for you!


#14

Way to go Lukelion!

I was at a mass with my fiance and kids last year. A family was seated behind us and from the moment the opening song started, they were talking. During the readings, the father was helping his son with his homework, and they weren’t whispering, they were talking at normal level! Then, the mom gave the toddler who was about two or three a sippy cup, and the child began banging it against the pew. The parents allowed the child to do this! The first chance I had, I looked them squarely in the eye, got out of the pew, and moved a few pews down. I was so angry, which now looking back on it, was wrong, but at the time I thought I was in my rights to be angry.

Why do people even bother to go to Mass when they don’t care enough to pay attention?


#15

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