I was reading this in the departures lounge yesterday, surrounded by reading elderly ladies, snoozing babies, and the dulcet tones of CNN’s Situation Room in the background, and started laughin’ like a fool:
I once worked for a man who hated the kiss of peace at Mass so much he’d kneel down in an angry huff resolutely refusing to make eye contact with anyone instead. Which only convinced leftish folk he was in dire need of a group hug, I think. However good his intentions, it just wasn’t a good tactic.
I never had a strong opinion about it until I had kids. With them in tow, you learn how disruptive the kiss of peace is where it is. The most solemn moment of the liturgy –when the Lord of heaven and earth has made himself present to us body, soul and divinity– is suddenly interrupted with handshakes all around.
Our pastor, who is no liturgist but has profound eucharistic devotion, always skips the kiss of peace during masses for the school kids. One day I was at the back of the Church, behind several classes of kids, for the noon mass. Father forgot to skip the kiss of peace and the ruckus that ensued was instructive. The reigning silence and good behavior evaporated into a din of google eyes, silly handshakes and whispered smart remarks from which the young congregants never fully recovered.
(Oh, don’t I know it. That part of First Friday Mass was worse than Facebook could ever be. The heart-stopping pressure of the social hierarchy (and the fact that we sat boy-girl-boy in mass) all manifested in who shook whose hand when and with what level of eyelash battery…)
All of which leads Patrick Archbold to offer his suggestions where to place it:
• Ten minutes before mass.<br/> • (Kiss of peace) Right before you tell your brother Fredo that you know it was him.<br/> • Ten minutes after mass.<br/> • Since those who foisted this on us always make the point that this was an ancient practice, I say we do it it right after we find and slaughter an unblemished red heifer.<br/> • On Good Friday right after the ol’ school prayer for the Jews.<br/> • Let’s not and say we did.
Oh but read the whole thing. Talk like this does so gladden my heart…