I think daily mass is way cool… before my wife got too sick to get out much, even on her ambulance stretcher, we used to go to the adoration chapel in the middle of the night, and then would catch morning mass before heading back home. There is something incredible cool about daily mass… and even though I couldn’t receive the elements, not being a Catholic, just being in the presence of others doing so was pretty powerful Alas, we hadn’t been to daily mass for many years, it was difficult enough to make a trip to church once in a while, and in the last year, even Christmas and Easter proved difficult.
As such, when I was out chasing down some specialized tooling, I thought hey, I should check out daily mass once again. Not just because its cool either… initial adrenaline has worn off and grief stuff is a ton suckier this week, so I’m poking here and there to deal with it.
A bit of googling, and I got a church and time so I was good to go. I’d never been to this particular church before, which was cool in a couple ways. First, visiting churches is always a blast, you never know what you will run into. Secondly, I’m very much in the grief arena where solitude is much preferable to being out in groups… and church visits often times means one can go in, worship, leave, and no one will even notice. It looked to be a win win all around!
and my mind was blown…
The sound, oh wow, the sound, the organ, the natural reverb, it brought back memories from one of my profs talking about Revelation 4 as a zone like experience. I mean we read the text and it very easily comes across as boredom city in isolation… but within the context of uber awesomeness, such is not the case, it becomes a zone like thing. He used the example of being at a Vikings game and totally enthralled with the experience… not being into football, well that analogy didn’t work for me, but I did get the point he was making. The zone was there at St Joseph the Workman… wowzers^5
The sound, the scripture texts, the experience was awesome!
and then came the homily…
Ok, this is not a homily compatible with sola scriptura, or pretty much any lutheran type beliefs. Apparently this is an old school type of parish, with a major focus on Mary, tradition, the saints, Holy Days etc… a huge contrast with my wifes parish, which while very much Catholic in liturgical practice, the homilies often times could just as easily be said at an evangelical mega church, short of a a few bits here or there.
And while a homily on Our Lady of Fatima etc was not my cup a tea, where the priest ran with it proved fascinating, but first a bit of background.
The days leading up to my wife’s passing, and the weeks since have been filled with what appears a string of near impossible coincidences… enough to make me really take notice and wonder what on earth is going on.
See, I’m a bit skeptic and somewhat cynical on a lot of things… not quite to the point of being an open theist, but leaning that direction a bit. Said beliefs as to Gods direct intervention in the here and now, used to cause my wife and her friends a certain amount of frustration with me as I didn’t really get with the program so to speak. Ie, I’m not a believer in free will when it comes to the big deal stuff as the scriptural support as well as tradition / early church writings, and of course Luthers bondage of the will are pretty rock solid… but for the smaller stuff, I was thinking the free will / open theist folks might not be all wrong. The last few weeks have caused me to do some major rethinking on this. I’ve even gone so far as to order via inter-library loan, a book on God winks / coincidences that a friend recommended.
Getting back to the priest’s homily and Our Lady of Fatima… he talked about the crazy coincidences involved and how God shows us things through the seemingly bizarre. It turns out Fatima was named for the daughter of Mohamed… and then for Mary to appear in that city, wowzers, what a ton of messaging to ponder.
Obviously this is all prompting a bit of a theological rip up and redo… while man’s will or lack there of is not a major theological game changer, the profound aspect of God stepping right in the midst of our lives in a huge and visible way is a pretty big ball game.
God winks all around