Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Sacred and Profane

on August 23, 2013

I’m not sure exactly why this particular memory keeps shoving at my present consciousness, but it just seems to have taken up primary residence and won’t go away.  Maybe I can bleed it out through my fingers.  I don’t know.

Sunday evening and we’re attending Mass because, well, we just were.  And not at our regular parish, because they don’t have Sunday evening Mass.  I don’t especially care for the church we’re going to, but for the occasional Mass, I can handle it.  For reasons too complicated to get into here, the H and his GF and the baby are attending also.  With us.  OK.  We start to walk in from our car, and I hear a shout and turn around.  There’s the H, hand in hand with the GF, carrying the baby, calling for us to wait for him.

Iseult turns dead white and grabs my hand hard.  Angharad gets an ever-more familiar steely look on her face.  I grip their hands and smile at H as best I can.

We enter church and slide into a pew:  Me, Iseult, Angharad, the H, the GF and the baby sort of toddling around between everyone.  Not the most comfortable of situations, but everyone is welcome at Mass and you just suck it up.

The Mass starts and the baby provides some distraction as she move from person to person.  The Liturgy of the Word begins – there is a certain irony to this week’s readings.  We’re all terribly grateful for the baby’s antics.

Finally it’s time for the sermon.   Now, I know this Priest.  There is every chance that he can ramble off on some tangent completely unrelated to the readings and we’ll all get through the Mass just fine.  Except this week, Father is more than inspired by the readings and launches into a loud and fervent homily.  Everyone in our pew literally turns to stone.  Finally, the GF gets up, grabs her daughter and leaves.  Some few minutes later, the H’s cell vibrates gently.  He leans across both girls to me and mouths “I guess I have to go.”  I nod – I mean, really what am I going to do?  We’re in the middle of a nearly packed church.

Finally it’s just the girls and me sitting there.  Iseult turns and whispers to me, “well, that certainly was awkward.”  NO KIDDING!  YA THINK?

The homily drags on.  Finally it’s the Liturgy of the Eucharist (usually my favorite part), but I’m in basket case mode.  As it’s time for Communion, I keep thinking to myself, “Maeve, you SIP the Blood of Christ.  You DO NOT grab the chalice and gulp, swig, or guzzle the Blood of Christ.”

At last Mass is over.  I feel like I’ve been through a wringer.  As we’re walking our car, Iseult comments, “You know, I don’t really like the way the Host tastes at this church.”  As I’m trying to reconcile what I’ve just heard come out of this child’s mouth, Angharad says, “are you saying God is tastier at our church?  Really?”  They start to argue about the relative taste of the Host at various churches.  Finally I gather my wits about me and shout “it’s completely profane to be discussing God’s tastiness!  What’s wrong with you people?”

Angharad turn to me and says, “Mom, I don’t think God’s going to get all hellfire and brimstone just because we let loose a little.  I mean come on – what were the chances that Dad and “her” would all be with us for a Mass focused on ADULTERY?  Ya don’t think He had something to do with this one?  And who knew Father would actually stick to, you know, the actual topic of the readings, cos this must be a FIRST for him!”

I think I’m just going to have to say an awful lot of rosaries.

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