Friday, January 28, 2011

The Ordination

(written August 12, 2010)
I watched Steve place his forehead on his folded hands, his body flat on the cool concrete floor. The priests were in white, the Bishop was seated in his chair before the alter.  Janet’s six year old daughter leans over and whispers, “Mama, what he is doing?” And Janet whispers back, “He’s dying to himself.”
There was a porthole from Heaven to Earth during that mass, well, there is one every mass, but the presence was so strong during the Ordination.  I thought, “Maybe if I just jump toward the alter the divine presence would just lift me right there, a total assumption.” I was brought to tears of joy constantly. Oh, how good and refreshing it is to have a range of emotions being the fragile creatures we are to have “tears of joy,” I had realized how much I had been longing for that one. And excitement…yes, that is another, during certain moments of the mass it was like my heart nearly burst out of my body  from excitement. All I could do to avoid such a scene was place my fist firmly against my chest over my heart, Thump thump!”  I try to collect myself.
The incense climbed to heaven.  We lifted our voices in the litany of Saints.  My imagination goes wild with every blessed name we sing out, the saint lifts their head at the sound of their name. “Oh…you are asking for my prayers?  Yes my friends, I will offer my prayers for you.” They are not all solemn and stoned face like their pious laminated devotional cards might depict them.  They are warm and joyous, with huge grins on their faces and beaming! Oh how we were all singing! My friend Rebekah, a beautiful soprano, was leading us, a handful of weeks away from having twin boys. I felt her voice bring the hairs on my arms to attention, I know her boys were penetrated to their very cores as their angels whisper to them in the womb “Mama.”
I could have burst into flames from shear anticipation, “Oh this is going to be good!” as I watched the twelve priests in white with the Deacons and the newest Deacon Steve preparing to offer Mass, to offer what is most pleasing to the wild Almighty Father.   They file down together around the alter (we have a more modern alter set up, post to follow someday) and stand in their white, candles glowing.  The Bishop says, “And now with all the angels and saints let us sign our unending hymn of praise….”  And the “Holy! Holy! Holy Lord…” ripped through the sanctuary.  There were only about 100 human beings present at the mass, not enough to fill a quarter of the building, but believe me, the place was packed!
I rode that divine high through the next day when the realities of my own vocation were getting a bit trying.  Sippy cups, diapers, dishes, crumbs, clutter...I found myself returning to an image, this time it was me… flat on the kitchen floor, face down, my forehead placed on my folded hands…dying to self.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Angel Conspiracy Theory

A Lady in Waiting for the Queen of Saints would try to attend to the King out of love for her and Him. Over the course of last summer, I tried to visit our King in the Tabernacle often.  One day I was in a rush to get to my friend’s house when my dear friend Katherine and I decided to swing by our church to say a quick hello to our Lord. I had decided, and I voiced this aloud, that it would be most efficient if I parked in the fire lane right outside the Church (which the Church bulletin always says not to).  I would run in quickly, say a prayer and Katherine could wait in the van.  Then Katherine could run in real quick and I would be in the van…very simple.
As we pulled in, I felt the van park itself in a parking spot. I mean, I drove it, but it was like a momentary forgetfulness of the plan I had formulated a millisecond ago.  “Well…I guess we should all go see Jesus,” I turned around and my three treasures were all buckled in their car seats, bright eyed and wonderful . The unbuckling and buckling of car seats for three children under four was like the needle that St Therese bends down to pick up. All these little things for Jesus.  The situation was not very “quick” or “efficient” either, but…Jesus is not an errand.
Our lively priest Father J.P. was on his way to the Church and stopped by the van. “We’re just paying a visit to Jesus,” I say cheerfully.   He smiled and chuckled, happy with this.  I have to force myself to not think of how good this looks, of how devoted we look, and how it must be pleasing to him. Errrr…vanity. So, we talk about the weather…because it WAS an absolutely beautiful day.
 Katherine and I brought the girls into the little side sanctuary. The familiar glow of the candles, the art, the holy water, and the beautiful wood tabernacle where our King was waiting always seems to make one at ease. As Katherine and I knelt before him, the children on kneelers, or the floor, or the bench in the back….I reflected. He is with me always, what was this urge to come and see Him here and why on earth did I drag the gang along?
The angels… in all my own planning… were in a conspiracy to get us all here.  And so, I was affirmed in my belief that day that the angels long to be with Jesus in the most Holy Eucharist.  That my angel should want to be in His presence is clear to me because I, myself, would like to be in His presence.  The prodding, however, of the angels of my children has now made me more sure that our children do belong with us at mass, when we visit the tabernacle, during adoration. The children may not be totally aware of the presence, but be sure their angels will adore. Listen when they say, “Please take them with you.”