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.