Monday, January 12, 2015

Gesture of Peace

Here we go again. Couple in front of me, couple beside me, family behind me. Great. I picked my seat perfectly, AGAIN. Why can't some old widow sit next to me ONE of these days. Great. Here he goes, ready to spin everyone off into the arms of their spouses, girlfriends, fiances, moms/dads/people-who-love-them-enough-to-join-them-at-Mass. Great. Another reminder that I'm single and here alone. I love this.

This may or may not have been an inner dialogue of my own several years ago. Going to Mass by yourself can hurt. Often, it can hurt so much that you A) stop going to Mass all together, B) stop going to one parish and "church hop," therefore preventing yourself from becoming established in one place, or C) get mad at God for keeping you in this state of limbo.

My compassionate, wonderful husband has always made it his mission to include people. So many of his friends are those who he met because he was reaching out to them when they were the new kid or were in need of someone to reach out to them. It's one of my favorite things about my BFF/husband.

This holy husband of mine introduced me to this practice with which I'm about to challenge you: if you are lucky enough to go to Mass with someone (spouse, significant other, friend, family, anyone), don't offer them the gesture of peace until after you've offered it to all of those around you. There is bound to be someone near you who is dreading the gesture of peace because they know they'll have those 24 seconds alone, watching everyone else remind them that they came alone. 

We are a community. Build it and reach out to those who came to gather. Your Mass partner isn't going anywhere. This is one small way I believe we can strengthen the Church.
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Kevin said...

Yes! A wonderful idea! If you've ever been in this position, you know how painful it can be...

Christine said...

Challenge accepted! :)

Liesl said...

Love it, friend. I think you and I have had this exact conversation more than once. I dread the sign of peace mostly for these exact reasons (and the other reason is because I'm an introvert and "ohemgee I have to talk to people?!"). I church-hop. I somehow end up sitting with the old ladies/couples. By far, my favorite mass is the priest who launches into the Lamb of God 2 seconds after he says to share the sign of peace. Crisis averted! But really, I just want someone to shake hands with me!

Beth Anne @ Beth Anne's Best said...

I went to mass once and there was a couple near me that shared peace with the other people around them first and each other last. It was really nice as I have that inner dialogue all the time. I have struggled with feeling out of place at parishes and have church hopped until I found a parish I liked.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Liesl! I totally get that!

I think that's a common feeling, Beth Anne!

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