This is my fourth article reacting to the submissions from the Synod on Synodality. I would like to talk about reverence at Mass. Many people noted the lack of reverence in people who come to Mass. While we cannot control the actions of others, enough people referenced it that I thought it deserved to be mentioned.
Reverence is virtue by which we show honor and respect to someone with dignity. God has the most dignity, therefore He deserves our highest respect. While there are many aspects to living a Catholic life such as practicing virtue, taking time to pray and works of charity, reverence to God are all things Catholics should develop, because how we treat God is at the center of everything that we do. Vatican II often says that the Mass is the source and summit of the faith, and it is at the Mass that we encounter God.
How do we do that? Taken positively, there are many good habits we can develop for Mass. We can arrive early for Mass to prepare ourselves. We can pray a thanksgiving to God immediately after Mass. We can meditate on the readings before Mass. We could make the responses and sing. Even dressing well for Mass shows that you are taking the Holy Sacrifice seriously. Taken negatively, there are many bad habits we should avoid. These include making oneself a distraction during Mass (for instance, having a conversation), treating the Eucharist with disrespect (like leaving Mass early) or inappropriately applauding.
So, what is the harm in not being reverent in Mass? When we do not take the Mass seriously, it encourages others (especially children and those outside the Church) to not take our faith seriously. If no one takes the faith seriously, it harms people’s ability to believe in the faith. If no one believes the faith, no one will convert to the faith. If we want our Church to exist in the future, we need a sense of the sacred now. In a world that sometimes does not take religion seriously, we need to stand up against it by making God the most important aspect of our lives.
N. B., for anyone who has to take care of a child, I hope none of you takes this as a discouragement to come to Mass. Being a parent is incredibly difficult and if someone is disturbed by your child making a little noise, that is on them, not you. We want children to come to Church and may God bless you for bringing them.