Sunday, January 2, 2011


This morning I did something I would normally not do.  Something that others would do, but I wouldn't. But I did it this morning. 

My running club normally meets on Saturday mornings.  This week our Saturday morning run was canceled due to ridiculously cold weather.  We were to meet on Sunday instead.  I knew I could not go to mass last night.  I wondered how I could go to mass this morning and still go for my run.

I figured it out.  I could go to mass 'on the way' to my run.  Which meant I would attend mass in my running clothes.  Now, let me hasten to tell you that they are in no way immodest.  But they are not church clothes, they are running clothes.  

After mass, while driving to the canyon where we ran (see above), one of my Catholic friends phoned me.  I told her how upset I was about showing up at mass wearing inappropriate clothing.  She disagrees with me about what is appropriate clothing for mass.  She told me that God is happy to have me show up wearing my running clothes.  She said He is happy to have a hip running woman at mass.  

I told her that I do not agree.  

I think I showed a blatant disregard for God and his home.  I think I told him and everyone else that mass was an after thought.  That running was important, and mass was something I could "squeeze in" on the way.  

I told her that next week I am going to go to mass at the Latin Mass Community of the Archdiocese.  I will wear a dress and a veil and go act right.  She was horrified and said I am moving backward.  

I probably shouldn't even write anything here about the Latin Mass - I certainly don't want to enter the debate, but I will just say that I want mass to be holy.  I grew up wearing a veil or a hat, and a dress, never pants (and certainly not running pants!), and praying in latin.  I know those prayers like the back of my hand.  

One time I went to the pastor of my church (who is now a monsignor) and asked him how I could become less judgmental.  I told him I didn't understand how people could come to mass in sweat pants and shorts!  I thought he would lecture me about not judging.  Instead he told me how he pondered the same thing.  He said he often thought about what his parishioners would wear if they were invited to the home of the President of the United States - they would wear only their finest! And yet, each week they come to the house of God in any old thing.   I gave that a lot of thought.

Just not when it was inconvenient this morning.

I will make amends for this....


  1. It's weird, but when I started to pray the rosary regularly last year, my dress code radar suddenly became very alert. The level of blouses etc and amount of make-up, although I've reached that age where no make-up would just scare children and cause them to scream, you know? I tend to live in jeans, or trousers, infact I own one skirt and one dress and I have never worn either of them.

    I did used to wear dresses and skirts but I hardly ever go out socially ( what on earth does one do 'socially' anyway? I need to learn all that palava.

    I may wear my skirt to Mass, next week. If it fits.......Otherwise, I may need to pop into Tescos clothing section. It is the January sales after all!

  2. Mary Christine- I don't own a skirt or a dress. I don't go to work in them or attend weddings or funerals in them either. Our work environment is business casual to casual, I have seen even flip flops although I would not wear them - my toes are not pretty! I would dress no differently to see a celebrity than I do for anyone else. In our little rural farming community we come to mass in a wide variety of outfits, from jeans to pants but only a few skirts -few and far between. Even the ushers may have jeans on and sometimes printed T-shirts. Our priest is very conservative, he has even put on a Latin Mass but I guess he figures that you are in church because you want to be there, regardless of how you look while you are there. I was raised in the Methodist Church where the ladies dressed to the nines, for each other, not for God. More of a social club for them. My side of the family are social climbers, even my choice of husband was not good enough. You see, he was a poorly dressed carpenter, still is. It's obvious that he doesn't measure up even though we've been married for almost 30 years. So if you want to dress nicely I think that is great and you should do it but I doubt Jesus cares what you wear as long as your soul is dressed properly. So don't feel badly about wearing your running clothes one day of the year.

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  4. You know I can see both sides of the argument and I can't make up my mind on which side I fall on. On balance it's best to dress appropriately, but an occaisional casual would not be oppressive to God.

    You did remind me of an incredibly funny situation that occurred in church a couple of years ago. This very young priest was giving a sort of fire and brimstone homily on dressing appropriate for church, having babies crying and disturbing the mass, and cell phones going off. Well shortly after his homily, while preparing the Eucharest, a cell phone goes off in church. And it's ringing and ringing and everyone is looking around to see who the guilty party is. After all the priest specifically mentioned cell phones going off just minutes before. Finally, when the ringing just won't stop on its own, the priest lifts his garment, takes out his cell phone, and shuts it off. LOL. His face was beat red, and he just continued with the mass. The congregation was very kind to him, giving him just a short laugh. So Mary it happens to priests too. I wouldn't worry about an occaisional lapse in proper attire.

    Sorry about the double post. The first try had a couple of typos. Too bad one can't edit one's comments.

  5. Occasionally, something happens that I wind up going to Mass in less than my Sunday best. For instance, in really inclement weather, it may be more practical for me to wear pants, etc. That's when long coats come in handy. I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. I think it's a good thing that it bothered you enough that you probably won't do it again. Too bad about your friend but perhaps she, too, will come to see the light. BTW, my daughters are amused to hear that when growing up, if we didn't have our veil, we got a tissue bobby-pinned to our heads. They were amazed that women never went to church without a covering on their heads.

  6. I enjoy dressing up especially for Mass and usually dress as nice as I can and I have to say I don't notice what the others have on at all. I don't think God does either Mary, he sees our spirits and administers to them. I honestly don't feel God checks to see whose wearing make up or a dress. I remember wearing a lace covering over my head and if I forgot it I too would use a hankie or Kleenex. I love and miss the Latin Mass, the way Mass was said before Vatican II but I would have to travel over a hundred miles to attend one......God knows my heart.......:-)Hugs

  7. Thanks everyone. I think I knew very well what was in my heart yesterday. The running was my priority and mass was something I was squeezing in. And my clothing reflected that.

    I certainly didn't mean to suggest that everyone should go out and buy a new wardrobe for mass!

    I have a Latin Mass just a few miles away - in fact, one is starting just about now, I could go there any time. I will go there on Sunday.

  8. I would keep running and have fun, but when you run hit into your prayer Pax

  9. I wouldn't get too guilty about 'fitting' Mass in. Mass is a duty, a commandment. Whether or not we enjoy it as much as other bodily activities is irrelevant and not within our making. We do it with an obedient will and an aquies, aquiescen, agreeable spirit. The senses may take part positively or they may not. Feelings aren't moral, they just 'are.'

    I often like to get to Mass early, so that my duty is done, especially if I have visiting to do, to relatives etc, on a Sunday. I continue to talk to God through the day, I don't forget Him, but I can't ease my spirit until my duty is done and I don't really enjoy other activities until then, either. That has always been the case with me and in that sense, it is a 'get it out of the way' approach, I suppose.

    Weekday Masses are a whole different matter, because they are my choice. I probably 'enjoy' those much more as I am not committing a mortal sin by not going.

  10. Mary C.,
    I have to admit that I barely ever wear dresses. Not even to Mass. I feel uncomfortable in dresses and skirts. I do try to dress a bit neater for Mass than what I normally wear around the house (jeans). I have "Mass pants" (lol). Seriously :)