Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mass with the Carmelites

That's where I've gone the past two Sunday mornings. I can't go to my own Presby church, full as it is of celebratory beginning-of-the-year-ness. I need a mass that is a sacrifice. For those of you familiar with the Ignatian Exercises, my life now is an immersion in Week 3. Week 4 looks light years away. And I need a place where I don't know anyone.

So today, of course, an acquaintance of mine, mother of former classmates of my children, was there, and came up and asked me whether I knew any of the sisters. "A couple of them," I said. "Would you like to be introduced?" "No," I said. I tried to soften it. "Another time."

Of course, there are things I miss. The celebrants are always male and, so far, not trained in preaching Protestant-style. It is often difficult to follow the homilies. They seem to be thoughtful and well-prepared, but the delivery somewhat misses the mark. Nevertheless, I get bits and pieces. From last week:

Know yourself. (Socrates)
Be yourself. (Cicero).
Give yourself. (Jesus).

And from this morning:

Sometimes people are under the impression that faith is like being covered by a huge electric blanket. But it is much harder to believe than it is not to believe. (Flannery O'Connor).

I have no idea what the point of either homily was, and the quotes are unlikely to be accurate. Close enough, though.

I did go and speak to one of the sisters this morning. I suppose it is of those degrees of separation things. A couple of years ago, my former spiritual director had preached there (and he is, in fact, a brilliant preacher) and referenced my photographs of Chartres Cathedral. She had talked to him about it, and he had asked me to call her, which I did. We never did get together to talk about Chartres, but we did meet, walking around the Little Lakes one day, and so today I re-introduced myself and told her a little of the circumstances of my being there.

The Carmelites pray all the time.

9 comments:

Michelle said...

Even a life-long Catholic is sometimes baffled by the homilies, I will admit. I sometimes wonder if more priests published/posted their homilies, if they might be better organized?!

And I do wish the voices of women in my tradition could be heard in that particularly sacred space...

I had a hard time going to the regular Sunday Mass after my husband's death. Too many people I knew around; I preferred daily Mass at a church near the campus where no one knew me.

May you find the strongholds and refuges that you need, hidden safely...

Katherine E. said...

Wish I could think of something to say, GG.

I'm drawn to you. And praying for you.

Stushie said...

One of my cousin's is a Carmelite nun. They are beautifully sincere spiritual people. God bless you on your journey and may He speak to your heart.

Kathryn J said...

I agree with Michele about the homilies. I am fortunate in that woman preach in my diocese. I can understand wanting to go to a different church - space away can be invaluable.

Thinking of you.

Stratoz said...

as for homilies--- I am thinking I have a skewed view on Catholics ability to give good ones, well the only view I have on Catholics may be skewed by those Jesuits out in Wernersville, PA. Many give amazing homilies in my book. I have imagined myself fleeing to them to find peace. I am glad the Carmelites are providing a place for you to be.

peace.

Michelle said...

Jesuit training is pretty intense, and the homilists at Wernersville are treasures, but definitely not the run of the mill Catholic preaching...

mompriest said...

Gannet...prayers continue...I fly into Chicago tomorrow for the first time since I moved in March...so much has changed since then...in my family too (we've had our own tragedy, two of them, not life taking tragedies but life threatening)...life is fragile...grateful you have a place to worship and pray....I'd like a little anonymity but as the senior pastor/priest that will not happen...prayers continue for you.

Deb said...

In music and Scripture may there be small nuggets of peace...

praying...
Deb

Magdalene6127 said...

Adding my continuing prayers to the many, and love.