Sunday, July 26, 2015

Preparing the Sunday Dress ~ On the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother.  As I prepared the boys' clothes for Mass this morning, I couldn't stop thinking about the two of them who prayed fervently for a child, promising to dedicate their child to the service of our Lord, should they be so blessed.

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).

But I know, as you do too, that parenting a child, no matter how perfect they may be, is never an easy undertaking.

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.

Don't you love my classy assortment of plastic hangers??

I suppose, through my little Sunday morning routine of pressing out pants and starching shirts for our six sons to wear to Holy Mass, I am preparing them, in a small way, to receive Jesus, too.

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 realize that tending to the boys' dress requires extra time and attentiveness on my part, but I'm becoming quite fond of the task.  It is an opportunity to pray for the child whose clothes I am washing and pressing, and to admire and appreciate the beautiful differences in each boy, especially as they are all growing in different ways in the spiritual life.

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.

{Linking up with the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday.}
 Dress: TJ Maxx 
Accessories: Francesca's
Shoes: Zappos


  1. I love this! I used to lay out clothes for the kids the night before but got out of the practice a while ago - you look so lovely and are inspiring me to have a little more foresight for what my little ones wear as well :)

    1. Thank you, Rosie! I confess that it does take a lot of effort on my part, and I usually have to get up about an hour before everyone else to get it all together...but my husband is very kind and lets me take a nap in the afternoon, which is a nice reward! ;)

  2. Wonderful post! Years ago I heard a priest say that it wasn't necessary to go out and spend a lot of money on fancy church clothes, but rather designate the best clothes already in our closet as Mass attire because the most important celebration we attend is the celebration of the Mass. The suggestion stuck with me, and we make sure to wear our best.
    You look lovely! :)

    1. Thank you, Erica! I think the advice your priest shared is very wise. It is about giving our best, no matter what our best is.

  3. Susan, I love this. I think that the act of taking the time to help prepare the boys and their dress for mass is so, so sweet. God doesn't ask us to look fancy but isn't it a wonderful way to celebrate the best day of the week. You look amazing and I love that you show your love for Jesus through your children. Keep on rocking it mama!

  4. Love this Susan! You have such a great down to earth and inspiring attitude - we love to dress up on Sundays but I will try to develop the interior attitude in the kids a little more thanks to your lovely words. That and we often fail on the grooming department with my girls hair so I will try to up our game a little :)

    1. Oh, Katie, if I had all girls, I am sure this post would probably have a different tone to it. I can't imagine fixing the hair of six little ladies! I do have it easy in that department, a little gel and a comb and the boys are done in a flash!

  5. Oh my goodness. I love this post so much!! Thank you so much for sharing and linking this up with us. You look stunning!


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