In our continuing Being Frank retrospective, The Dumb Ox asks "What goes on upstairs?" in this post from 2010. Spoiler alert: He's not talking about the choir loft…
I was in Mass a while back, and at one point I found myself looking around the church at everyone else present for Mass (yes, I know, I probably should have been paying more attention to Christ, and less to my fellow congregants!).
It was quite obvious, based on what they were doing, that some of the people at that Mass had no real investment in what was going on, in fact some of them seemed downright bored by it all.
But here’s the interesting thing, many of these people attend Mass at my parish every week, and they show exactly the same sort of disinterest each time.
Please understand that I am not being judgmental or critical at all here, I am simply trying to understand why someone would keep coming back to Mass each week if it doesn’t actually mean anything to them at a deeper spiritual level.
This phenomenon really intrigues me.
I often find myself asking whether it’s because of some sort of loyalty to a family member (did they once promise their mother on her deathbed that they’d attend Mass every week?)
Maybe it’s because they enjoy the social interaction after Mass?
Maybe it’s because they think that it brings them some sort of prestige in certain circles, or will earn them a better chance at getting their kids into a Catholic school.
Maybe they feel an obligation to go each week?
Maybe they view it as some sort of cultural thing that their family has always done on a Sunday, so they do it too?
Maybe they enjoy organ music and singing hymns?
Maybe they carry guilt and other burdens, and they see this as some sort of atonement?
Like I said, I find this a really intriguing phenomenon.