Dressing for Mass

I find this video encouraging.

I also wonder why this has become an issue. Why are videos like this necessary?

Maybe you don’t think they’re necessary. I’m sure some folks will feel put off by the sentiments behind the video, and the encouragement to dress better for Mass. That encouragement may, instead, feel like rules being imposed. I understand.

I think about my own feelings of wanting to be liked and accepted. I want others to like me for who I am, and not because of some show I put on. There is a strong thread of this way of thinking within Christianity. We want to believe that God loves us directly, that we don’t need to put on a show, that He doesn’t care about how we dress, that He takes us as we are, warts and all.

Well, that’s true. And anyway, we can’t hide from God.

We can carry that further and believe that we must do away with all hints of pretension in order to have a more authentic faith, and more genuine worship. There is truth in this, but I feel that our culture carries the burden of this thinking, born in many ways in the 1960’s and 1970’s, to the extreme across all of society. We are a society of slobs in many ways, as though we are making a point about authenticity or something, but I don’t think it’s a conscious thing anymore. I wonder if, in our modern freedoms, we have lost the sense of being made in the image of God. I’m sure we have.

But dressing for Church is not for God. And it shouldn’t be as a show for others. Rather, it is for us, for our souls.

You don’t have to kneel for prayer, but that posture feeds the soul in some mysterious way. You don’t have to bow your head or clasp your hands either, but there is something true, something connected with the deep design of our humanness that such postures speak to and reflect. I believe this is true for how we dress at Mass. We are in the very Real Presence, with Christ Himself, and with our fellow brothers and sisters. What a great opportunity to rejoice in this fact.

There is no pretension in knowing you are a child of the King, either. And consider this, with this truth in mind, dressing up for Mass is fundamentally an act of humility. It’s not about putting on airs, rather it’s about showing reverence, and doing so in a way that conforms to our nature.

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