I refer to Audrey Thng’s letter, How To Promote Reverence In Church (CN Dec 16, 2012). I agree wholeheartedly that the spirit of prayerfulness and reverence among many Catholic parishioners leaves much to be desired in our churches.
As I was brought up in a Protestant family, I used to look upon the lackadaisical attitude of the Sunday Catholic churchgoers with some degree of disdain.
However, during my recent conversion to Catholicism, one dawning fact that opened my eyes to our universal Church was that we are a Church made up of broken and flawed people.
Of course, some of us grapple with large skeletons in our closets e.g. homosexuality, addiction, infidelity; some of us with secularism, envy, lust; and yet others suffer from the flaws of spiritual apathy, nonchalance and irreverence.
To me, that is the beauty of our Church and reflects its universality. Christ died for our sins due to, and not in spite of, all our brokenness.
For the "parents who let their children snack as though they were in a cinema", for the "people who text, check email", for the joking and laughing teenagers, for all those with unspoken inner hatred and turmoils - there, but for the grace of God, go I.
For although I may or may not suffer from the sin of irreverence or of treating the Church like a cinema or coffeeshop, many more are my sins in His eyes.
Since my conversion, I try to concentrate and remain prayerful in spite of the many distractions and background noise surrounding me. I also realise that oftentimes, it’s easy to shut out external noise.
It’s the internal turmoil and distractions that are much more difficult to shut out.
Perhaps, for all who struggle with paying attention during Mass due to the market-like atmosphere, it’s a good reminder that Christ preached in market places, busy ports and town squares and rarely in the hallowed atmosphere of the Jewish temples. n