May 4: Ascension of the Lord (transferred from May 1 in the Novus Ordo calendar)
Parish: Holy Rosary
We had a substitute priest, Father Mike from Africa. His English may not have improved much, but he has finally figured out how to work the wireless mic. The liturgy was just as it should be. The only embellishment was the saying of a Hail Mary after the Creed. Since May is the month of Mary, that was fine with me. The music was also fine, no extra trills or flourishes on the pipe organ.
The best part (for me, at least): the Latin is back! Gone is that verse-chorus-verse of the Glory Be, replaced by the beautiful Gloria, every blessed word. The Sanctus (which is my second-favorite Latin prayer) and the Agnus Dei was also back. Whatever brief flirtation they had with singing the Our Father is also thankfully over, and we were back to saying it plainly. Now if they managed to chat it in Latin (the Pater Noster is my favorite Latin prayer), then I would be over the moon.
However, this entry is not about the Mass, it is about the "after-Mass".
I was finally able to talk with Sister Diane, the nun who is the RCIA instructor at Holy Rosary, and someone whose friendship I value and opinion I respect. When I started on my tour of the great and not-so-great churches in November, I kind of left her in the lurch. I left the RCIA class rather abruptly, and only gave a cursory email as explanation. I felt kind of bad about that. In many ways, she is like a favorite aunt of mine, and once I got my head screwed back on semi-straight, I intended to talk with her in private.
Well, as chance would have it, my big project this afternoon was postponed, so I had some free time. I offered to take her to lunch, and after Mass we drove to Au Bon Pain on the Circle (had I known she was glucose-sensitive, I may have chosen someplace where the main course wasn't bread). We talked for over an hour, running the gamut from why I left Holy Rosary, my relationship with Kat in light of her relationship with J, my adjustment to living alone, and a little bit about my starting to see a professional therapist.
Sister Diane is no dummy. She could see how things were developing between Kat and J, confirmed that they were quite serious, and suspected (correctly, I might add) that was why I left Holy Rosary. We talked a little bit about the annulment, and verified in her own mind that the grounds for nullity still existed. She understood why I had to leave Holy Rosary for a while, chuckled a little bit about my tour of the diocese (she even used those exact words) and was glad that I've returned.
We also talked about my interest in the monastic life, and as a good friend and spiritual instructor should do, she challenged me. Would I be truly happy living in the same small community for the rest of my life, rarely if ever leaving the grounds, giving up a great deal of my freedom, surrendering my ego, and working at mundane tasks like making fudge, cheese, and fruitcake? She didn't question my genuine desire and my devotion to God, but she did force me to take a hard look at what I was getting myself into.
She offered a suggestion: in addition to my morning and evening prayers, I should commit myself to daily Mass and daily adoration of the Eucharist. Every day, at the same time and place (well, two places in my case, one near my office and one near home), celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and spend an hour in quiet reflection with Him. In addition to the abundant graces Jesus offers by being in His presence, it will serve as a way for me to continue disciplining myself and aid in the discernment process. 90 minutes a day (30 minute Mass, 60 minute adoration) is a small sacrifice of my time, but if I can't manage that without straining at the yoke, then how would I be able to handle sacrificing the rest of my life? Time will tell.
I am going to make another attempt at being a sponsor for the next RCIA class. J has already indicated that he will not be back as a sponsor, so they will need someone, and I think/hope/pray that I've stabilized enough mentally and spiritually to be able to help others. I'm committing myself to attending Mass there at least twice a month (I may alternate between the 9:30 Latin and the 12:00 English), and I am also going to try to be more active in the church community, maybe getting involved with some of the other groups or classes. I'm not going to go overboard like some people, but I missed being a part of a parish, a member instead of a visitor.