The Our Father singing/hand holding controversy has raged on in my absence. I do believe this is the longest comment thread in the history of Ask Sister Mary Martha. A brief sampling:
Oh, don't get me started on the clapping. I sometimes go to the more (*ahem*) contemporary parish that is closer to my house. I actually stopped going there because they incessantly do annoying things. They always clap after the recessional and and one of the last times I went, the clapped during the Alleluia! Like it was a campfire song! This is how they did it: "Alle" *clap clap* "Luia" *clap clap* and then "alle-alle-alle-alle-alleluia!" I actually turned to the person sitting next to me, with what I can only imagine was a look of horror and a stupefied "really??!" escaped my mouth out loud. She seemed to share my annoyance. Needless to say, I never went back.
Was there a liturgical dance, too?
I also cannot stand singing the Our Father. It's distracting and annoying and takes way too long. Not that I think it should be gotten over with as soon as possible, but I feel that everytime it is sung I'm focused more on how silly the tune is, and how it doesn't sound good and how all I want to do is focus on the WORDS and not anything else.
Luckily it's only sung at 12:00 mass at my church, so i just avoid it... or offer it up!
Strategies are employed:
I've never liked holding hands. We always sit with parents on the outside, kids in the middle. So, I'll be, at least on one side, next to a non-family member. Whether it is someone I know or a complete stranger, I am not comfortable holding hands with a man who is not my husband. It just feels so wrong. Perhaps because prayer and hand holding are both intimate acts, it is uncomfortable to do them with someone I am not on that level with. I usually keep a handkerchief in my pocket and when hand holding time comes around, I just blow my nose and try to look like I'd really like to hold their hands but don't want to spread germs.
The general non hand holding, sing less, stop that clapping consensus:
I've read through the comments here and have seen lots of reasons why and why not people like or do not like holding hands. One thing that caught my attention was the word "unity". This is the precise reason we, Catholic Christians should not hold hands during the Our Father prayer. As Catholic Christians, our "unity" is in the Eucharist. If you wish to imagine those of your family who are not with you, imagine them surrounding the Altar during the Eucharistic prayer, praying with you and the multitude of Angels and Saints.
To hold hands during the Our Father as a sign of "unity" is a misunderstanding of our Faith. We unite with one another at the reception of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
We could start holding hands during the Eucharist, too, in that case.
We're all entitled to our opinions. I would prefer not to sing or hold hands. Do I agree that we shouldn't sing or hold hands? No. I understand those who feel we are somehow chipping away at the reverence we should be feeling at Mass with a held hand here and a tune there.
And all that clapping...it calls to mind a game show, the one where everyone claps like chimpanzees no matter how stupid the answer was.
But I feel that's not the issue on which we should focus. At least one person is on the same page as I.
My husband hates the "sung" Our Father and some of the hymns that are often sung during Mass. He refuses to sing the Our Father but will mouth the words along with those of us who sing. As to the hymns he doesn't care for, he glares throughout without singing them.
If we're striving for unity, should we allow such petty things to separate us for the others in the congregation? Can't we simply "offer it up" and go along with the flow as long as it isn't something truly un-Christian? Is it really necessary for us to (not) voice our disapproval by refusing to join with others in the Body of Christ?
But that's just me...
No, it's me, too. Whenever I find myself feeling miffed, judgmental, irked and stiff shouldered, I remind myself that someday I hope to be in Heaven with the source of my irritation: my singing, clapping, hand holding brethren. I won't even be allowed in Heaven if I'm standing stiff shouldered and tight lipped in the line to get in.
I think it's as important for people to know why they are/aren't standing, kneeling, holding hands, applauding, crossing themselves, wearing flip-flops as it is that they follow the rules. Anytime I've seen someone doing something I was taught was wrong, I ask myself if it would be better that they just not be in church. I'd rather see someone in flip-flops than not see them at all.
Yes. St. Francis of Assisi didn't even wear shoes.
We'll all be in Heaven together. Even Those People who do Those Things.
Whoever Those People are for you.
It always disturbs me to hear that people have left a parish because they have become stiff shouldered and annoyed. What are you going to do in Heaven? You can't change parishes in Heaven. Do you imagine that Those People, simply won't be there? Surely you hope that they will be.
Worried about spreading the flu? That's a lame excuse. Jesus hugged lepers, back when they thought you could get leprosy by hugging lepers. It made the lepers so happy.