We are on vacation this week at the New Jersey shore.
Vacation does strange things to me. For example, I hardly ever wear shoes on vacation. At home, my shoes are never OFF! Here, I only wear them when I’m outside the house.
I also consider the possibility of eating chocolate walnut fudge for breakfast (it goes great with coffee).
And then there’s the same old, same old: cooking, laundry and cleaning up. Just like home, but with more sand.
The other day we went to Mass at a church that is obviously used to catering to tourists. Mass was practically every hour on the hour. It was over in 35 minutes and that included distribution of Communion to people on 2 levels (the church has converted and expanded the choir loft to practically double its seating capacity). It was quite disappointing. I felt like I was in the express lane of the supermarket instead of at church. Big Brother felt the absence of bells at the consecration. When Father elevated the Host and the chalice, Big Brother whispered to me, “ding ding ding.” It was not to be disrespectful; he was missing something. I was missing music. They had a good keyboard player with “hymns by synthesizer” but NO acclamations were sung, and there were no hymnals, so no one could participate.
Yesterday I was reading a chapter in Swimming with Scapulars that talked about differences at Mass and how they can be a distraction. YES! That’s exactly how I felt! It was distracting. I should be able to walk into any church, anywhere, and just go with the flow: let the familiar words and gestures and, yes, music of the liturgy to carry me along. I should not be noticing the absence of important things or the presence of bizarre “extras.” Yes, each parish has its own personality, but don’t mess with the stuff that shouldn’t be messed with!