Friday, March 19, 2010

Is It Me?

I can't tell you how many times a day I pray: "Dear Lord, grant me the strength to deal with this person who is driving me insane!" I can't tell you how many times I've prayed that prayer in church. Today was a good example.

I sat down to pray the Rosary before Mass began and after a few minutes, I started hearing someone whisper their prayers out loud behind me. With very little sleep on board, I just couldn't do it today. I am very sensitive to sound and noise, to the point where I don't wonder where my autistic son got this same sensitivity! I got up with the pretext of checking out the line for confession and when I returned, I sat somewhere else. Not such a good idea.

Not long after I found my new seat, a couple sat down directly behind me and continued to talk out loud. It grew to the point where I had to turn around and look at them. The Eucharist was exposed as their conversation was taking place and once again, I struggled with the fact that this disrespect was only part of why I found this so offensive. Even when Mass began, the chatter continued. Not long after the homily began, a cell phone went off and its owner made no effort to silence it. The ringtone was some annoying rap tune. And then it went off during the Consecration and I thought I was going to lose my mind and my temper.

Why is it so difficult for people to be quiet in church? How will we ever hear what Our Lord is saying if we don't have the silence necessary to hear Him, and not just exteriorly? Chances are if someone is causing others to be distracted by incessant chatter, fiddling with plastic bags or a cell phone, they themselves lack interior as well as exterior silence.

One thing I have learned is that if someone is hard of hearing, they really have no concept of how loud they may be talking. Usually these are elderly folks, so even if they annoy me, they get a pass. The other thing I try to remember is that people don't set out to go to Mass to be annoying to others, and since their intentions are good, I must learn some patience. But there is no excuse whatsoever for cell phones to ring or be answered in church. People make mistakes, but twice in the same Mass is beyond the pale. Am I wrong?

I promise not to complain about this topic again but be forewarned: my next rant will be people who don't allow the priest to lead the prayers and pray louder and faster than Father does.

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