Oh, was I ever distracted at mass today.
I'm up at my mom's until tomorrow (we've had two days of festivals -- the Dunedin Highland Games on Saturday, Sun'n'Fun airshow today -- both awesome, but I'm beat!), so we went to her parish, the one I grew up attending.
It's different now, of course. Priests have come and gone, the congregation ebbs and swells, they've hung what are essentially Jumbotrons from the ceiling on either side of the altar (ugh, don't even get me started on those)...
Anyway, I was trying, I really was. Today's Gospel about the raising of
Lazarus is rich with meaning. The visiting priest (who's giving a parish mission there this week)
gave a great homily, too. But so many things were getting under my skin and oh, was I ever judging: the choir used too slow of a tempo for the opening hymn; the cantor's voice was nasally; the second lector over enunciated too much (yes, certain woulds should be accentuated, but come on, lady, you're not doing theater, here); the deacon's many stumbles during the Gospel reading showed he hadn't practiced at all; the guy in the pew in front of me was fidgeting so much that he was jouncing his wife/girlfriend who was sitting next to him; and why on earth does Fr. Charles have a soul patch?
That last question will likely remain unsolved, but you get the idea.
It wasn't until the Liturgy of the Eucharist that I really managed to focus. Part of it was that I realized what was going on: something was deviling me ("The Screwtape Letters" actually came to mind), and all those niggling things, so petty and completely ridiculous once I stopped to think about them (especially so when you list them together), started to fade.
The Consecration is also my favorite part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Jesus is the most important person in the room, more important that anything I'm distracted by, or anyone. Every mass is a much-needed reminder of that fact, that He should be the focus regardless of whether I'm in mass or not.
Besides, the parishioners helping at mass are just trying to give their best to God, and I certainly can't say I've never stumbled over a reading when lectoring, or missed hitting a key or two on the rare occasions I've cantored. Ultimately, it's not my home parish anymore, and hasn't been for a while, so what I think hardly matters. What does, though, is that since Fr. Charles was assigned there last year, families who left have started coming back. Mass was packed this morning, and that is worth noting.
I'm still not a fan of the Jumbotrons, though. What was wrong with missalettes? I'm just sayin'... :)