I am not, and have never been, a religious person. We didn’t go to church growing up, and besides like a month when Mom and Dad were getting read for Abby’s baptism, I’ve never gone regularly. I think it would be safe to say that the amount of church services/masses/whatevers that I’ve been to in my life is under 30, maybe ever lower than that. Never a part of my life, and I’m really hugely grateful for that in a lot of ways.
But a few years ago, Kelly and I started going to midnight mass. Not because of any fear/love of God, but because my sister plays the oboe, and so we go. And it turns out, that I actually kind of enjoy it, to the point of actually looking forward to it now. But that is only because this isn’t any ol’ midnight mass that we go to. No, this is an old school, Latin, high holy, whatever whatever mass. (You might be catching on at this point that I don’t really know all the correct terms.)
Anyway, there is this church on the south side of St. Louis that still does traditional Latin masses, including Midnight Mass, with all the fixins. Although it seems to me that the only fixins involved are myrrh and a baby Jesus on a stick, wearing a dress and a crown. There is some meaning to that, but I don’t know what it is.
The ceremony always ends up taking forever. There are like 50 parts to it. And this old church is really cold because they can’t afford to turn the heat up. And like I said, the whole thing is in Latin, so you don’t have any clue what they are saying. Oh, and it is all sung, so you can’t really even follow along in the book to pretend like you know what they are saying. And I don’t understand Catholic dogma or any of that stuff, so it is really inscrutable to me. And all the ladies wear handkerchiefs on their head, and that strikes me as really old and sexist and I don’t approve.
And I’m pretty sure that the church uses some of the money that they collect to advocate for things with which I do not agree.
However, I still enjoy it. It is this link to the past that even I can appreciate. And the old church is really pretty. And since I can’t understand what they are saying, I can pretend that it is whatever I want it to be. So I look forward to it, and have a good time, and then wait another year before I can be bothered to go again.