I am not a regular church goer but when I get bogged down by guilt about having been sinful or remind myself about my upbringing which emphasised on the need to visit God’s House every Sunday, I make it a point to wear dresses that fit into the category of church going clothes even though I attach very little significance to hair dos and make up. Once at church, my eyes are glued to the electronic screen, not because I am gravitating towards technology but because I have forgotten my prayers that I had learnt by heart at Sunday Catechism classes before the Holy Communion and have to rely on this blessing in disguise to recite them correctly. So I guess it’s not hard for one to understand that there is very little room for distraction. However, there is a part of the Holy Mass when my mind tends to wool-gather or I nod off due to fitful sleep or amuse myself unconsciously with inappropriate thoughts. The Sermon. The heavily accented yet enthusiastic tone of the Parish Priest, his voice modulations and his tendency to laugh at his own jokes with animated facial expressions and gesticulating hands forces me to snap out of my reverie and concentrate on the message behind his sermon.
Yet another major distraction is when the community goes to the altar to receive the Eucharist. Until my turn comes, I have the opportunity to scrutinise every man and woman returning from the altar, especially women. It’s natural for women to be interested in other females’ fashionable attires, stylish footwear and matching accessories and I was no exception. I found a few impressive outfits that I thought fitted them well and accentuated their femininity. There were others that I would do anything to not have them hanging in my wardrobes. Then my attention was arrested by a stylish pale green shorts outfit that gave the wearer a smart, chic look but when she returned to her seat I was a little surprised by the open back considering the fact that the venue was a church. Caught between admiration for the outfit and the debate about appropriateness of church going clothes, I participated in the remaining half of the mass distractedly and when the mass concluded, as instructed by the priest, I decided to go home in peace. I could not help saying “Alleluia” to the wearer for her excellent choice.