1. Praying the rosary while listening to details about a long ago episode of Dinosaur Train (because you’ve already stopped ten times and everyone else will be up soon) adds a unique but not altogether distasteful element to the prayers.
2. Catholics like their own pews. Sharing is only a virtue on Christmas Eve.
3. Catholics are still learning how to sing.
“Why aren’t they singing?” I asked my priest.
“They are singing, but hymn singing is new to them. They’re still getting used to it.”
The luxury of a millennial institution. Only the Orthodox and the Catholics could insist with a straight face that a change made fifty years ago is new.
4. Protestant saints have almost nothing to do. Catholics wouldn’t dream of praying to them. Neither would the Protestants, just for different reasons.
5. Explaining to doctors that you believe in Natural Family Planning results in either a) sighs and quiet eye rolling, b) indications that the doctor now believes you to be of unsound mind, c) irritation at the minions of pregnancies, failed and otherwise, that you are obviously determined to call down upon your head, or d) all of the above.
6. Deciding what to do with the Mary statue when Grandma comes to visit doesn’t have to be that stressful. At first, I moved it every time she came (in the spirit of not causing undue stress about my salvation). Then one day I forgot. I saw it out the window as we sat sipping our tea. I wondered if I should cause a diversion and race to hide Mary. “Oh for heaven’s sake, she knows you’re Catholic. Enjoy your tea,” said my practical self. Since then, Mary has stayed and Grandma has proved herself more mature in these matters than I. Our differences are a non-issue. We share with joy the ways we love God that are the same.
7. Thirteen-year-olds can accidentally be profound. I have always been a little squeamish about germs on things I eat, but my son has taken this mild paranoia to new heights of anxiety. The church we used to attend required altar servers to receive by mouth. It was only his hero worship for former military man, the head of the altar serving team, that got him through, I thought. We recently moved to a church without the requirements, yet I noticed that he continues to receive the Eucharist on his tongue (while still harping just as intensely at home about any minor infractions of dignity to his food).
“I like it,” I said, “but I’m curious, why?”
“I thought about it,” he said. “I mean, somebody sticking their hand in my mouth is about the most disgusting thing I can imagine. But if Jesus is real, it doesn’t matter. A germ wouldn’t even exist. I still think it’s gross, but that’s why I do it. To say Jesus is there, I believe it.”
Copyright 2014, Michelle Dawn Jones