My husband Paul always is Deacon at the 4:30 PM Saturday Mass. I knew he was going. I grumbled that I'd go to Church sometime today. But halfway through my late afternoon shower, I changed my mind.
Because God had followed us with goodness and love all week. Our relative had been wise enough to go to the hospital when she had needed to. She had received medicine and nursing care there to help her. She'd come home from the hospital; once home, she'd improved. Unexpectedly another relative, much missed, had come into town to help with her and her family's care.
I wanted to go to Church to thank God for her improving health and have focused time to pray for her healing to continue. And I wanted to take time to thank God and to pray for for all our family members, in town and out of town, who took time to support each other all week.
But I was tiredly dragging my feet as I entered Church. Usually I buzz around visiting people before Mass begins. But I slumped down in my pew like a lump of clay, hoping I could be invisible. I love to sing. I looked at the hymnal and figured I'd listen instead. All I could pray over and over was "Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy."
But a friend came up who had talked to Paul in the sacristy and knew about our rough week; she gave me a long hug as warm as sunshine and full of God's goodness and mercy.
And God continued to have mercy on my exhausted, arid soul. During the opening Procession and hymn, I rose to my feet and found the strength to sing, praising God for His continuous goodness and love. My relative was home. We'd had a chance for a beautiful visit with our relative from out-of-town. The night before, we'd had an impromptu family party and I'd been able to enjoy everyone being together, laughing, and even watch a video including my deceased son without falling apart - I'd quietly loved seeing him, hearing him. I hadn't realized until that moment that I'd healed enough to manage that.
I thought about how our Faith gives us new eyes to contemplate every passing minute of our lives and to re-frame every thought . We may be deluged in sorrow, but we know the golden sunlight of God's goodness and love is always present, even in our darkest hours, illuminating our hearts to trust Him and to find His abiding presence in the people and events surrounding us. Sometimes an event is so powerfully tragic that we are overcome by the dark night of sorrow. But as days go by, Faith gives us the eyes to to see daily signs that God never abandons us.
During Mass, I listened to the readings from the Bible and knew God spoke those words personally to me , as God speaks them personally to everyone who listens to the Word of God with an open heart. I looked at the Baptismal font, the waters that gave me new life. I heard the priest say "This is My Body....This is My Blood"; I looked at the priest lift the Host for me to see my Lord; and later I tasted Life on my tongue, Jesus' Real Abiding Presence with us. My greatest reason for being Catholic is my belief that Jesus chose to remain with us always in this personal, tangible way: the Eucharist.
My Church is the House of the Lord where I will dwell all the days of my life. Not necessarily this building. Over the years many Catholic Churches and communities have been my home, all over the country, the world. But the Catholic Church is my chosen family Home. I pray that YOU have a Church Home, a Church family, that embraces you ateaches you about God's goodness and mercy following you all the days of your life!