By 7 am today, I received all the beauty I would need for the rest of this otherwise humdrum Tuesday.
Morning Mass. Early morning Mass. Still cool out. Today's celebrant always says Mass reverently and joy just streams out of him. The green vestment of Ordinary Time is still refreshing, after the white of the Easter Season.
My turn to lector and when I turned to read 1 Cor:18-22 and Psalm 119, I was surprised at the number of newbies in church. One known seminarian, back for the summer, another, unfamiliar guy, who had that seminarian vibe coming from him, many more commuter-dressed guys than usual for summer vacation season, more of everybody, it seems, even more of the ones in the back who don't go to Communion (no, we're not staring at you, we just notice you like we notice any neighbor!).
The special intention of the Mass was someone's 25th anniversary, rather than the usual "repose of the soul of." There was a little ripple of recognition, that smiled breath and rustle.
The sun gleamed on the candlesticks and the chalice and we on the "Mary side" of church squinted when we turned into the low morning sun towards those on the "Joseph side," to offer the sign of peace (at this hour, spread out as we are, it's more the "nod and smile of peace").
Consecration, all eyes meet by meeting on the Body of Christ held high. Long Communion line, people's feet are very quiet, all serenely bow or genuflect, loving Jesus with one mind. Thanksgiving in silence, bird-chirping silence (tiresome cicadas don't get revved up until later in the morning).
After Mass, Father processed down the main aisle. When we joined him on the sidewalk, there was the couple whose anniversary we prayed for God to bless, and Father was praying over them, laying on hands. We all formed a rough circle of admiration and intercession and said "Amen" together. Here we are in suburbia, priest in vestments, people of all ages and types, worn missals and briefcases or track suits, paused again with one mind. For once I forgot to take a cautionary look around at the dog-walkers and commuters to see who was staring or glaring or smiling.
We were in a fully-Christian-world moment.
The talk after the blessing was congratulations and talk about trips and vacations and the usual golfing group made their pastel-polo-shirted way towards their cars, some walked by shyly and silently, some hurried to catch their train.
This is what life is, should be. Adoration, community, blessing, going forth into the world.
Ite, missa est!
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