Friday, March 01, 2013

The Catholic Faith: This Is the Air I Breathe.

We gathered Wednesday night with our Bishop Emeritus in a Mass of thanksgiving for Pope Benedict who yesterday at 2:00 became Pope Emeritus.

It was glorious.

Getting there was another matter entirely.

The whole process reminded me of a mommy quote I read over at Rachel's the other day: I gave up murder for Lent. Kidding, kidding, kidding. But it easy it tweren't. I'll spare you the specifics save to mention that dinner cost us an entire shaker of salt and nearly cost us my sanity.

And here's the rub: I internalize all of this, over-analyze it, assign it far more weight than I should. I want things to be Just So. And they aren't Just So.

We're going to Mass to honor the Pope. Let's be at happy. No? How about peaceful? I would have settled for civil. I figured I could at least insist on quiet. And quiet they were until John and Kolbe began fake fighting and, rather predictably, John took a for real punch to the temple.

Cue wailing, loud, loud wailing

"It's all fun and games," Tim sternly intoned, "until someone loses an eye."

And I burst out laughing.

We arrived. Ainsley jumped out and noticed the radio tower adjacent to the church.

"It's the Eiffel Tower," she gleefully exclaimed, enamored as she is with all things related to Madeline.

This, too, made me laugh.

In we went. I had no sooner found my seat when a nearly palpable peace began to envelop me. We began the opening hymn -- Come, Holy Ghost.  As we moved into the second verse the words O Comforter, to thee we cry made me cry.

Rarely have I felt the presence of God -- the comfort of the Holy Spirit -- more tangibly than at that moment.

I  took in the first quiet of my day and I looked first at my husband and then at my children (who at that moment really did appear nothing short of angelic) and I realized once again that this faith of mine, it is the air I breathe.

I love the Catholic faith.

I love the smell and bells, the smoke and the candles, the saints and the sacramentals.

I love the vestments and the liturgical colors.

I love times like these when we pull out the big words, words like Conclave and Consistory and Petrine.

I love the phrases pregnant with both meaning and history -- Keys to the Kingdom, Bind and Loose, Apostolic Succession, Sede Vacante -- phrases that remind me that I am but one in a long succession of souls great and souls humble seeking hope, finding solace, being fed by the body and body of Christ, encountering God come to earth.

I love that we can set aside all of the above and embrace what Bishop Boland called the single, essential "kernel" of the faith: Jesus Christ is Lord.

I love it.

Just before communion, we said a prayer that has changed slightly with the new translation that came our way a year or so ago: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

God does enter under my roof, and I'll continue to enter under His. If the trip easy is easy or is fraught with tension. If the music moves my soul or grates on my ears.

It is the air I breathe. 


Amy Parris said...


Mary @ Better Than Eden said...

I love thinking of it like this...thank you!

bobbi @ revolution of love said...

What a beautiful reflection. I also find it incredibly encouraging that you toiled to get to that moment of peace. It helps me to focus on the bigger picture rather than the chaos. (If that makes sense.)

Kelly said...

Thank you all! Yes, Bobbi, it does take toil sometimes. Worth the toil, though!