Now I Begin,
Now I Begin,
And there was a ripping sound…a ripping sound during the Gospel reading…a ripping sound whose source was my child. Friends, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a bit. Rewind…
Today was my children’s first visit to an actual cathedral. Odd I know. We are a military family and generally attend Mass at our base chapel. Base chapels tend to be modest buildings devoid of any decor specific to any particular religion. Thirty minutes prior to mass, Religious Program Specialist (RPs) adorn the chapel with her basic Catholic accoutrements. Statues of Mary and Joseph holding Baby Jesus are brought in and placed in their respective places, the altar is draped in linens whose colors reflect the liturgical season, and upon a small side table are placed the vessels and other necessities for communion.
Friends, Corpus Christi Cathedral is anything but quaint. At the front of the church is a huge fresco painting depicting Jesus surrounded by the Saints and Blessed Mother. Unlike the crucifix at the back of our old chapel, there is no curtain to hide Him. These religious icons do not move. They stand true witnesses of the many prayers that are carried up to God from the polished wooden pews. Catholicism is not carried out of the doors like decorations from a play, hastily moved to make room for the next scene.
I wanted to see everything! Take in all the paintings, all the icons, and breathe is as much incense my lungs could handle. I led, my family forward wearing my brand new aqua dress from Stitch Fix! I was feeling good and looking good too! I can only imagine the look on their faces when we did not settle in the back, when I sauntered past the middle. I bet they slightly panicked when I continued to walk closer and closer to the front, to the special occasion seats. Friends, you know the ones! They are the seats we sit in only during sacraments. We are directed there with ropes and cloth signs, reserved stitched across the front. I did not need a reserved sign or rope this time. I knew where to go. Settling in the third pew from the front we sat. My family cast looks of “seriously..here?” I heeded them not, piously praying while imaging Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Offering up all the intentions I could think of and fervently begging the Spirit to open my soul and reveal the Word to me, I was in my element…In my heaven on earth, up front with the Nuns!
This particular service was televised live, and the lectors all appeared to be toastmasters! First reading, was flawless, the second, attention getting. Every word enunciated, feeling and emotion imbued into the Word. The scripture was alive. Oh the Homily! Father was on fire. The spirit was with him for sure. Captivated I listened intently and pulled out my little notebook to capture his words,
Yes, Lord! I felt my husband glance toward me as I fervently scribbled, inspired and not wanting to forget- already planning a blog post. Oh it was glorious! What a church! And then… Yes, there is a then. There is always a then when you have children.
Father was finishing up the Gospel when my 8 yr old Achilles Heel dropped his hymnal. Now, this was no ordinary paper book hymnal. This was a hard bound, red and very well used that reminded me of my elementary school textbooks. My dear little angel of a child yelped, no screamed..yes screamed is appropriate, as the book slipped from his fingers. Not a little scream but a loud audible cry of anguish that was surely heard all the way from Jesus at the front to the holy water founts at the back. As horrid as The Scream was, there is no comparison to the sound that came next. The hardcover of the book had slipped past Achilles’ fingers and instead his adept hands (not at all) had grasped a page instead.
Friends, let me tell you. The sound of very thin paper being torn in a quiet church is worse than fingernails raking across a chalkboard. There were many audible intakes of breath. Horrified I swept up the book as my son stood there with the offending page in hand when he finally collapsed onto the pew sobbing. One of the nuns glanced, possibly glared in our direction. My own personal horror and embarrassment was replaced quickly with sympathy for this dear sweet child who sobbed silently in the pew, contrite and wrestling with his own shame.
What did he have to be ashamed of? A page tore, it had been an accident. Had the angels in heaven stopped their glorifying of God because of a torn page? This little child of God was sitting ashamed, no longer paying attention, no longer focused on God, but instead on a torn page.
I comforted my little man as did his father and we both let him know he was okay and not in trouble. There would be no admonishment. There would be no separation of his soul today. I held his hand and cast aside any worry of judgement from those around us. The only judgement that matters is that of the One above us.
Now dear Friends, I offer up a new prayer for those poor souls who resolve themselves to mortal death, because of some action, look, or indication from an individual that made them feel unwelcome in God’s house. I pray that I will never be a soul separator. May my countenance always be of a welcoming nature to all of our Father’s children, from the oldest to the youngest. May those lost souls return to the Father, to His house of worship and be reunited with the spirit in the hopes of receiving his grace, mercy and eternal life.
Turns out D’s book incident was not the worse thing to happen at mass that day. Someone forgot to turn off their cell phone and after being sent to voicemail twice the”find my phone” alert was activated during the final prayer. Not gonna lie, I giggled.
On another note, at the end of mass, Father mentioned the hymnals are very old and in need of replacing. A $25 donation covers the cost of one book along with a dedication name plate. My family of course snapped up a donation envelope. We plan for our dedication to read,
sorry we tore the last one
If you would like to contribute to the *Corpus Christi Cathedral New Hymnal Campaign, please visit their site https://cccathedral.com/ for more information!
*This post is not an affiliate or paid link to Stitchfix.com nor is it an affiliate or representative of The Corpus Christi Cathedral. All statements in post are those of mypsalm.com and are not approved by nor express the opinion(s) of entity or entities mentioned within post.