Tuesday, December 22, 2009


In the past month, I've been on the receiving end of some of the most uncharitable and just plain "mean" behaviors... in, of all places, daily mass. More specifically, the 8:15 daily mass in my parish chapel. Those involved often hold themselves up as "pillars" in our little church, as evidenced by the fact that they attend daily mass and are active in many volunteer positions/ministries in the parish.

Which got me to thinking... I attend daily mass. I am active in many volunteer positions and ministries in my parish. Am I just another Pharisee, loudly proclaiming my "holiness?" I'll bet there are way more hypocrites at daily mass than filling the pews on Sundays.

So, you can see the need for my blog-silence this Advent. This is something I've needed to figure out in my heart. Because if I am just a hypocrite, if I am just going through the motions for appearances sake, and not actually internalizing the teachings of Christ... well, then I need to stop. All of it. Now.


It hasn't been an easy Advent. There've been extra external stressors added to the usual holiday fare. My prayer life has been dry and "same old, same old." And always, always, these nagging questions: am I just going through the motions? Is there a purpose to my mass attendance? My prayer life? Am I moving, even incrementally, closer to Christ... or am I just posing as a Christian?

Last Tuesday night, I was gifted with the chance to explore some of these struggles with my friend. We are still getting to know each other on the surface level, and yet we already know each other so deeply on a spiritual level. We talked for hours. And then, we prayed for another hour. We spent a lot of that time together in the chapel in silence. For the first time in a long time, my heart softened to let Him in... and to shine His light in my darkness.

I got some answers to my questions.

In the silence, He showed me my holey-ness. He showed me all the places where I am broken and torn by anger, by refusing forgiveness, by stubbornness, by selfishness. He showed me where I am needing healing, peace, mercy and reconciliation. He pointed out the times when I am a hypocrite.

And He showed me being fed at His table each morning, fed by my community, fed by morning prayer with Father and Deacon, fed by His Word and His people. He showed me struggling to answer the 5:45 alarm, making the effort not because I am holy, but because I need Him. I need to start my day with mass and prayer. I know how much better my day will go if I do. I know how much harder it all gets when I don't.


So, here I am, in deepest, darkest Advent... just three days from the feast of Christmas. I am approaching this feast with peace. My spiritual dryness is being quenched. I know myself better now. There is a big gift there. I've learned to forgive... and to pray for... those people from the 8:15 mass. Another gift.

I've come face to face with my own holey-ness. And I've been assured that the antidote for holey-ness is Christ.

And that is the greatest gift of all.

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