Flipping through my daughters’ closet hangers, dress after frilly dress, looking for ones they haven’t worn in a while, I pull out a rose pink one with a fluffy skirt for the older sister and then sift through the other side of the closet for a similar colored one for the little sister. I love matching outfits for my girls. Sometimes they are identically matched, sometimes they are partially matched by style or color. I pull out a puff-sleeved black and white patterned dress with a rose colored sash for the little sister. I turn to their little dressers and find the tights, the undershirts, the hair bows. Sparkly shoes from the closet, one size 6, one size 8. I lay the outfits out on the bed and then the dressing begins.
Pulling pajamas off squirmy girls, sliding the fluffiness over their heads, buttoning the front and tying bows in the back. Slipping on jean jackets to keep out the spring chill. Smoothing back untidy curls with elastic hair bands and bright bows, pulling up the tights and strapping on the shoes. They are ready for Sunday.
Sunday, the day we take the morning to prepare ourselves for church. Sunday, the day we have a big breakfast after Mass and fancy rose china for our dinner place settings. Sunday, the day of rest dedicated to God, the day we try to keep holy and set apart from the rest of the week.
Sunday is special; it should be treated with reverence and going to church should be made an important part of that day, especially for impressionable young minds. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest” (Number 1387).
It seems only fitting that we dress up to go receive the God of the universe. First of all, He is our God and our King. He is the reason we are even here so to show our adoration and thanksgiving, we dress the part. Second of all, dressing up for church is good for us. It seems easier to enter into reverent Sunday mood when we dress like we are going to a reverent holy place. When we take more time to prepare ourselves physically, we are spiritually preparing as well.
My husband likes to turn on praise and worship music that plays throughout the house as we go from room to room, sprucing up our appearances for God. Playing prayerful music in the background while dressing for church helps the physical mentality transform from casual to reverent and our minds automatically begin to focus on the sacramental mystery ahead. As we shed our normal, workaday clothes, we also shed the cares and stresses of the week behind us, clothing ourselves instead in “holy” attire so that we can enter into the peaceful, grace-filled renewal of the Mass.
Dressing up for church is something I grew up with as a child; it was just always expected of us and it became second nature to look our best on Sunday. I hope my children can learn to do the same. Of course it helps that they like to dress up; they are little girls after all, and the love of frills and sparkles has already taken root in their little hearts. But even if they didn’t like to dress up, and on a bad day they sometimes don’t, it is still a good practice to instill.
Sunday mornings can be rather chaotic when there are multiple children to dress or when there are only so many bathrooms in the house, and dressing up, even in the best of circumstances, involves extra effort. However, the effort to make ready our appearances should be worth the struggle, if we can but remind ourselves whose presence we are entering. Let the dress-up begin!
How do you make Sunday special?
Copyright 2016 Hannah Christensen