God Is So Good, And ALIVE
This morning, my wife got up earlier than usual. As a result I was ready to go to the 9 am mass rather than our usual 11 am mass. As my wife has flu like symptoms, she did not want to infect anybody and stayed home. But, all was well, and all is well.
When I entered the Church and was looking for a quiet out of the way place to sit, I saw a smiling face, that of a dear friend I have known for almost 25 years. The story of his faith journey and our time together would make a good subject for a couple of posts. However, much of the poignant detail is lost in the memory banks currently. He and I plan to get together soon for lunch and after that I will be able to relay the interesting stories of our time together. We sat together and caught up for a few moments before mass began, just enjoying the community of the moment.
But the Mass. It was so delightful, I had to share it. I have written a bit lately about the Holy Spirit and Life in the Spirit. God has spiritual gifts for us all, and we don't have to attend a seminar to use them. For those confirmed in the Catholic Church, those gifts are available in part because of the sacrament we received. The purpose of the seminar that I wrote about the other day, is to remind us that they are there and for our use.
One spiritual gift that I received was the Gift of Tears. Yeah, some gift eh! For me the gift of tears manifests in teary eyed moments of great joy. If there is a song being sung at the time, I just have to stop, because I am overcome with the joy of the moment, and feel the tears welling, and a catch in my throat. Many years ago, when I thought it was a dumb thing, I was bothered by it. I mean, give me a break. Who gets the gift of Tears? Now, I just enjoy the moment, knowing I have been touched by God.
Well, much of this mass had tears in it for me, I was so excited to be there, in God's house and in His presence.
To begin with, Father John Pirt introduced Deacon Bob Hartman, a man I have known from another parish for over 20 years. Deacon Bob, who retired a few years ago, from the federal government, was ordained yesterday at the Basilica to the permanent deaconate. This was his first mass acting as a deacon. After the festivities of yesterday, he had a deer in the headlights look about him, and a giant sized grin on his face. His lovely wife Joanne was in attendance, and Father John introduced both of them to the congregation, and commented on the 4 year journey of study and formation that is involved in a call to the deaconate for both of them as much of the study is done by both.
So today for the first time, we had 2 deacons on the altar, Deacon Bob and Deacon Jim Donovan-Panchaud. Both of them are men committed to serving God in their marriages and in their ministry in the Church. What a blessing it is to have them in our midst.
As well, this morning, we had a baptism, of a precious little baby girl named Anna Grace. What a lovely name and a lovely family.
The mass readings which can be found here were inspirational. Like they won't be, right? In Kings, we hear of a widow, prepared to die, who the prophet Elijah asks for some food for himself. Although she is down to her last meal, she offers him some, and God miraculously ensures that her flour and oil will never run out.
The psalm and second readings were wonderful. Two women sang the verses of the psalm in harmony, as we responded to the verses. Voices like angels, they had. The second reading was from Hebrews and spoke of Jesus one time sacrifice for us.
The Gospel reading was about the widow's mite, the widow who gave her last 2 coins to the temple, while the rich gave from their riches. Jesus praised her sacrifice.
Father John spoke in his homily of life growing up in Sarnia, Ontario, when his father, who worked at Dow Chemical was locked out for 4 months in 1973, and took a hard minimum wage job to feed the family. He spoke of how his parent's sacrifice influenced him and his siblings.
Next, came the Baptism of little Anna Grace. She didn't like it much, as she cried towards the end. Didn't care for the water particularly. But, we were all touched by the faith of her parents and godparents.
At the commencement of the Baptism, the choir leader sang a beautiful abbreviated version of the Litany of the Saints, the more detailed version of which is here at EWTN. The modern sung version ends with a beautiful invocation: "All you holy men and women pray for us." You might have to have been there to be touched, but that was a teary moment for me.
At communion, we sang a beautiful hymn by Mart Haugen called We Remember. Here is a version of it from You Tube.
It is at moments like this that I am so thankful that God has led me to a faith community. What I have shared is only a small part of a beautiful hour spent in praise and worship of the God that I love, and who loves us all, without exception.
Mere words from me cannot do justice to the celebration that I participated in. Won't you join me, please?
Praise the Lord.