It started at Mass. I felt my grandmother's presence as I sat in the pew waiting for Mass to start. The day's readings were truly meant for me.*
Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has removed the judgment against you he has turned away your enemies; the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The LORD, your God, is in your midst,a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.The italic bits are the things that jumped out at me. Note also, all the female-gendered language. This is common when Christ talks to His people. He is the bridegroom, after all. But today, it made my heart lift a little thinking that He was talking directly to the sister's as we banded together and wore our pants. Pants that were meant to help us heal our hearts so we could "be glad and exult[ant] with all [our] hearts." I think Christ was "sing[ing] joyfully because of [us]."
Next, we had a reading from Philippians 4:4-7
Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always.I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.That, my friends, was a perfect thing to read on a day when so many stepped outside their comfort zones and said "I'm here, and I matter!"
The final reading was from Luke 3:10-18. I think it shows that God has a sense of humor. I mean, granted, John the Baptist was saying it...but I'm pretty sure we can agree that as a mouthpiece for God, his being snarky is a reflection of a slightly snarky God...below is just an excerpt that shows what I found amusing:
The crowds asked John the Baptist,"What should we do?" He said to them in reply, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He answered them, "Stop collecting more than what is prescribed."See? That last sentence. It's funny, right? Just me? Hmmmmm...
I like going to Mass. I like seeing things from a new perspective. But on days when my heart is broken and my spirit weak, I look around and think "why not just stay here, why go back?" There is so much I love about Catholic worship. The symbolisms alone are enough to make this girl swoon. And I see the beautiful similarities in the faiths. When the congregation turns to each other and says "Peace be with you." I think it's a beautiful moment of unity in the body of Christ. I wish we did something similar.
I feel peace. I feel my grandma. She is with me there. She is proud of me and she loves me. So I left Mass tired and confused, but also lifted up a bit more than I have been in days.
Sacrament was fine. I was thinking too many thoughts and I wasn't at rest. I was the only one in pants, but there was a purple tie. I think it was unintentional, but it would have been cool if it had been on purpose.
And then I signed on to Facebook. I saw the photos, I read the accounts. And my soul lifted. My sisters were happy and they were smiling. No, they were beaming with the love of Christ. Their testimonies glowed, and I was touched.
So I say, I am healed. I see my slacks hanging in my closet, and I know they will be seeing more Sunday use.
"...the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Peace be with you, dear readers.
* Proof that where 2 are gathered in Christ's name, there is His spirit. Someone knew I needed those.
** I am using the New American Bible for the scriptures today, since that is how they were read at Mass.