I was raised in the Protestant faith. I’ve since moved on into a life not diluted with religion, but for all intents and purposes, Protestants are the main-liners in religious America.
You have a few exceptions, of course, like Pentecostalism and (sometimes) Baptist. But Protestants tend to be mostly straight shooters.
But if you’re in my shoes, you may one day fall in love with someone who was raised in the Catholic faith; maybe you already have fallen in love with this person. However, if you haven’t attended a Catholic Mass, the show hasn’t even begun.
Do you remember going to an amusement park and having no idea what to expect on the biggest ride? That’s sort of what it’s going to be like when you first step foot inside this new world of intensified and focused faith.
I hope this list is able to better prepare you for that fateful day when you step through those doors.
1. It’s more than likely going to be the equivalent of a family reunion.
Catholics travel in packs. If you haven’t had a chance to meet the extended family, this is probably the first time you will. It’s as intimidating as you’re imagining, and everyone of course knows this is likely all new to you.
It’ll be insanely awkward.
2. You won’t need to hit the gym that day.
Up and down and up and down and up and down.
In a 60-second span you could easily go from standing to sitting to kneeling and then back to sitting. It’s not uncommon.
Just remember to keep pace with the flock, and do not under any circumstances try to anticipate their next move. You’ll jump the gun and look like an even bigger fool.
3. Yes, of course, that literally is the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Remember, this is faith we’re talking about. It doesn’t have to make sense or fit within any known parameters of science and reality. When the priest does his spiel, it turns the bread (wafers) into the body and the wine into the blood.
Amusing as it may be, you’d be better of saving your questions for a safer environment.
Note: You can’t take communion!
4. Everyone will be in love with Mary.
As though being born free of original sin wasn’t enough, a significant portion of the Mass will have something to do with Mary. If you’re used to the mainline Protestant ways, Mary is safe to be adorned, but Catholics crank it up.
This is another example of something that will naturally raise questions. You should once again ask those somewhere else.
5. People will unexpectedly Tebow in front of you.
It’s called genuflection. Here’s how Holy Spirit Catholic Church explains it: “Genuflection is a sign of reverence to the Blessed Sacrament. So, it is customary and proper to genuflect whenever we come into or leave the presence of the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the Tabernacle.”
This is really nothing more than that famous “Tebow” move: one knee to the ground, elbow to the knee, forehead to the enclosed fist.
But here’s the important part for you to remember: When you’re walking in to find an aisle, people will unexpectedly drop to their knee and do this. It is in my opinion completely uncalled for and quite frankly dangerous, but it’s going to happen. Be prepared.