I’m just gonna be honest here, I did not plan on going to Mass on Friday. It was a Holy Day of Obligation and every single time I saw someone post “Make sure and go to Mass today!” on Facebook, I flipped my iPhone off. In order to have a good “excuse” to not have gone to Mass, I decided that we would take the kids to their grandma’s that morning. It was kind of last-minute decision that I thought was all mine. I figured that a whole day of driving would be just the excuse that I needed to get out of going to Mass. I had a whole plan and was ready to execute it, no apologies, for not going. I really don’t even know why.
A few weeks ago I decided that after searching for a Spiritual Director with no luck that I would ask my Pastor if he would do it. I love this priest; he’s very much tempered like I am. I had not asked him because he is very busy and because he’s a dear friend to me. But when I asked him, he said yes. When I called him to schedule our first meeting (is that what you call it? I have no idea) he said that the only appointment that he had was on Friday, the Feast of the Assumption at 4pm. I took it not really concerned about not wanting to go to Mass. Going to Mass was really not even on my mind at the time. Things have been so crazy around here and I really would have dropped the idea of even getting Spiritual Direction if I had time to think about it. I didn’t, so I just followed through with it. I am not a follow through kind of person. I did figure that, like therapy, Spiritual Direction would help me sort through a lot of what is happening and understanding why God seems to be MIA and what does He want from me exactly. It couldn’t hurt, that’s for sure. Those were all thoughts that I had before I woke up on Friday plotting my giant plan on how I was going to skip Mass.
I figured that Father would “understand” why I couldn’t make it to any of the Masses, because I drove all day to take that rats to their Grandma’s 3 ½ hours away. That was 7 hours of driving. Totally understandable.
I met Father and we had a great talk and I got so many blessings from talking to him. He had great insights and advice for me on two of the things that I struggle with the most: prayer and holding grudges. At the end of our meeting he asked “Which Mass are ya’ll going to?” Uhhhhh……. I began with the whole plan of how we had driven all these hours but before I could finish he said “Father Jonathan is doing the 6pm Mass”. Fr. Jonathan is my favorite priest. He is the priest who walked with me for years when I started RCIA. He had been assigned to a different parish a year ago, so I had not seen him celebrate Mass in a long time. He is also the priest that married us.
My meeting with my Pastor was over at 5pm because that is when confessions began and then Mass was at 6pm. I still was not very happy about going to Mass, but I sure wasn’t going to go without receiving Holy Communion so I texted my husband and told him that Fr. J was celebrating Mass. That is when things started to get crazy. He texted me back and said he was coming, and he was going to go to confession.
My husband is a faithful Catholic, he is good. He has had a rough, really rough, time lately and I have gotten him to go to confession with me once, but it was my idea. This was the first time that it was his idea in a long time.
We met in the Narthex and he went to one priest and I went to my Pastor since he is my spiritual director. I had plenty of time to examine my conscience, especially since we had just had our meeting, and so my confession was very good. I could feel the absolution wiping my sins away. That doesn’t always happen, so when it does, it’s pretty awesome.
Basically, when I converted, I became a real bitch to my husband. I wanted him to do things the way that I wanted him to do them. I wanted to force him to see things my way and I used the Church to try to put the screws to him about the entire faith thing. Along with that, I wanted him to look and talk a certain way so that the other “good” Catholic women would see that I belonged here. I nagged him about every single thing he did, said, and thought. That doesn’t really go over so well with most men. They will reject every single thing you have to say when you come off as a condescending and rude nagging extremist. Which is how I came off and it did a lot of damage to my husband’s relationship with Jesus and the Church. I have been in the process of getting a handle on this with the help of friends, my therapist and now, my spiritual director. I have started to let go and let my husband make his own choices when it comes to the faith. Like I said, he is faithful, he just doesn’t like having his wife dictate to him when, what, where and how he should do this or that. Everyone’s journey is different and I have failed to respect my husband’s. When he said he was coming to confession and then Mass I was very happy because I have prayed for God to help him understand that what I did wasn’t a reflection of a God who Loves him and the Church that He left us.
As I saw Fr. J processing down the aisle, I started crying. It suddenly hit me that it was a Marian Feast Day, Stacey and I were married on a Marian Feast day (Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary) so Fr. J was wearing blue vestments, just like on our wedding day.
Fr. J’s homily was exactly what Stacey and I needed to hear. It was all about how when you try to live a holy life that there will be suffering. He said a lot of really great things about the Church being our mother and the Blessed Mother, but the thing that hit us was when he said that none of the powers working against us in this life will not get the last word. We have been through so much lately that hearing those words from our beloved priest really gave us hope. We both had felt hope slip away from us lately.
It is now Sunday, and there is so much more that happened, but I’ve promised myself to limit my posts to under 1,000 words. I’m at 1,170 right now.
Let me just say this: Stacey’s protestant mom is the one who introduced me to St. Therese, because of that Stacey and I made St. Therese the Patron saint of our marriage. On our first wedding anniversary, we began our celebration by going to Mass at the Basilica of the Little Flower. So, we get to Mass today and the opening hymn is Amazing Grace, which is mah SONG and then the priest celebrating Mass was named Fr. Francis Therese. He is a brand new priest so after Mass we got him to bless us. New priest blessings are the best! It was a great Mass and Fr. Francis Therese quoted St. John Paul II. It’s a quote that has been on my laptop for months now with a picture of my Papa. I have never heard anyone else say it in a homily. It was truly a sign from God that He has indeed not forgotten us. I also smelt roses as I went up for Communion. God is so good.