I have to admit that there was a moment when sarcasm crept into my thoughts toward the pious ones. Oh, really people. How hard could it have been to raise a sinless child. Must have been tough livin' on Easy Street with one who does no wrong.
(Insert palm to forehead right here).
Although Mary was ever-sinless, Joachim and Anne did not take for granted their supreme duty to nurture a deep love and devotion for God within their daughter. Through the ordinary undertakings of their everyday lives, they were ultimately preparing Mary to know, to love and to receive Jesus Christ with her entire being.
Over the years I've received equal amounts of compliments and criticisms for the way I dress the boys for church. Everything from "Man, your boys sure look handsome!" to "Boy, you guys are a little fancy for church, don't ya think?"
I wouldn't exactly call well-worn khakis from Target fancy, but whatever. What our family wears to mass is never about impressing the locals or making a fashion statement. It's about approaching the highest point of our week with the proper disposition, inside and out, and dressing accordingly for that which we are about to receive.
I once heard a wise priest respond in this way to those who say, It doesn't matter what I wear to church, because Jesus loves me no matter what:
It is not the love Jesus has for you that is in question, but rather the love you have for Him.
His words have stuck with me ever since.
Our boys love sports, and they certainly know the value of dedicating themselves to all of the necessary preparations to compete. Game day is always ceremonial. Mentally they contemplate all aspects of the game, emotionally they invest themselves, heart and soul, into the quest for victory, physically they have trained their bodies and dress that body with dignity and pride.
I would be amiss if I did not impress upon them, by word and example, the greater good of preparing themselves for Mass, beginning, but not ending with, the way that they dress.
I pray that as our sons grow up and move on to fulfill their purpose in life, beyond our home, that they will continue to love their Catholic faith, and that in their devotion to our Lord, they will find that, in taking the time to dress well for Mass, they honor Him with their love and attentiveness.
Dress: TJ Maxx