Mass Anxiety

We are going to mass today.

I haven't been to mass (without be required to) since January (shhhh don't tell I am supposed to go every week according to my job because "good" Catholics have right practice not right thought). I have just found it either too irritating or too painful to want to spend my free time going to mass. But I have been feeling slightly more up for it these days and the in-laws are in town and so we are going to try it.

But now as we are only 15 minutes away from our departure I don't want to go at all. My sinking feeling of both dread and fear (I am already on the verge of tears) is right on the surface. Some things are predictably painful. I am pretty consistently okay with the liturgy of the word (until the homily) but in the eucharistic prayer (and pretty much all over the place) I am offended by gendered language and images of God, bothered by the utter disinterest of many people (why go if you don't care- obligtory/ignorant practice is dumb), and I hate kneeling and other bad unthoughtful postures and symbols. (my feet don't reach the floor when I am on a kneeler because my feet are so short so ALL of my weight goes into my knees).

So all of this is mass at it's best. What happens to me when I go to mass that is offensive: ie- the homily is bad (people are left more wounded, more disempowered, more distanced from each other and God), the people are cold and rude (or just totally checked out), and the Eucharistic prayer is not prayer but recitation- is just too much. After these masses, I rage for about 30 minutes and then I have a breakdown around all the pain I have and feel in the church (the place of women and children, the unwillingness for REAL reconciliation, the way people are ignored over power). Ulitmately, at its worst, I leave feeling farther away from God (and community). At it's best (these days) I am relieved I am not more wounded.

All of this is intensified knowing that we have a child on the way. A child who we desperately want to ensure has images of God beyond masculine father, a child who we want to be liberated by faith and not closed in by it, a child who may or may not fit into hetero-normative mainstream (she already won't if she is a girl), a child who we vow to protect as much as we can.

Am I walking into my own minefield??
Off to mass. . . wish me luck.


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