Watching Christmas Mass With My Grandson, The Wee Heathen
On Christmas Day, I was channel surfing with my nine-year-old grandson and happened upon a televised Catholic Mass already in progress.
What a thrill!
Now, I’ve told this kid millions of stories about my Catholic upbringing. The good, the bad, and the extremely ugly. These discussions usually end with The Boy expressing relief that I wasn’t raising him Catholic.
I felt the compulsion to give him a little peek into what my world was like at his age, so I didn’t change the channel, saying, “ugh, gross, PTSD” as was my usual custom.
“Wanna see what I endured every single Christmas?”
“Sure, Mum-Mum.”(The child is a master at humoring me.)
We tuned in not long before the Consecration (the wine into blood and bread into body bit), and I automatically began reciting all the responses with the TV congregation. No thought was involved. The words still poured out after decades without a single brain neuron firing.
“You remember all that?”
“Sure I do, I heard it thousands of times.”
“Every weekend and Holy Days, not counting when we went to Mass during school hours.”
Then I really impressed the Boy by doing both parts, the priest and the congregation. Amazing what useless information the brain retains for decades, isn’t it?
He watched the priest lift the wafer and the chalice proclaiming it the body and blood of Christ, said ew, and asked if the priest really changed the bread and wine into flesh and blood.
I told him people have been fighting over that very issue for centuries, even before the Tudor era (yes, he’s familiar with the Tudor era.)
“What do you think?” He asked.
“I think it’s a symbolic gesture,” I told him, as every nun I had from first grade through high school turned in their graves.
I decided to switch gears a bit.
“You know what I did during Mass every week?” I asked him.