Monday, May 22, 2006
I became a Catholic when I was 32, right before my 33rd birthday. This process meant attending RCIA classes (adult catechism) for a year, every Wednesday night for two hours. I loved meeting with Deacon John and his assistant Rosemary in the rectory basement. It felt as if I'd gone back in time to little girlhood when I was fed snacks (Rosemary baked and made exotic things like glass candy -- those snacks were my dinner) and answered questions and was rewarded for good behavior. Two men who were getting married to Catholic women were in the class -- Mark and John (we only needed Luke and Matthew) and they were engaged in the exhausting process of helping their would-be wives get their first marriages annulled and managing their blended families. The real-life concerns took up most of their mental energy so they relied on me to answer questions that Deacon John posed and after a time, asked if I'd been raised in a seminary. Not hardly! It wasn't my fault that I'd read one too many Thomas Merton books!
One other woman named Tebeth was also in the class, and she had a lovely innocent way of looking at the world. She and I were the only ones not in the class because of marriage. One night Deacon John gave us a tour of the church and showed us the place of Perpetual Adoration. The Christ wafer sat in His special outfit and when the priest put Him out, someone was required to sit with Him at all times. Tebeth asked why and Mark said, He doesn't like to be alone. He wants someone to talk to Him. Tebeth looked confused and said, When I'm alone, I talk to myself. She wanted to know why Jesus couldn't do the same and seemed upset when we moved onto talk of where we'd be changing clothes after our baptism. It was in the room where the priests turned wine into the blood of Christ. Anything, it seemed, was possible.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
Blood of Christ (also known as a Cape Codder)
Cranberry juice and vodka -- enjoy with little wafers!
Benedictions and Maledictions
I’d Rather Be Shot
Don’t apologize if you are not sorry.
And don’t worry if you can’t feel
anything. Someone will be with you
shortly. Make yourself comfortable
because you might be here for a spell.
Don’t worry about the panic that grips
you when you lose your phone or your
heart. I will be, I am trying to be, any
day I shall be . . . What am I trying to say?
That, perhaps, there is power in the word,
if you can find the right one. Tell Mama
what you want, tell Mama what you need,
sang Janis Joplin and look what she got for
her trouble. Or think of Gary Gilmore. When
given a choice between a hanging or a bullet,
he said, I’d rather be shot. And he was.