THERE’S something glaringly obvious about this time of isolation and closure.
The day, or night for that matter, we find ourselves stepping over the threshold of our parish churches will be as glorious as the resurrection itself.
While every Sunday Mass is the renewal of the Paschal Mystery, returning to our churches, in the full light of what we do as Church, will be glorious in so many obvious and even miniscule ways.
Without a doubt, I’m most looking forward to being there, among parishioners, visitors, anyone, doing what some might not have known to be extraordinary and then, within a glorious future, our “being” becomes infinitely more.
I imagine daily, of late, sitting where we normally do and admiring our ceremonially vested parish priest at the end of the processional line towards the sanctuary as part of the Introductory Rites of the Mass, with anticipated musical accompaniment and Miss 17 joining in at my side.
She glances over and smiles knowingly, seeing I tend to sing not as gloriously as her and have a tendency to change key, mid-chorus.
Miss 18 would likely be altar serving and I admire her, in my imaginings, from a distance, not in a boastful parental way but because she serves with a pure heart and overflows with joy to fulfil her role.
Master Going-on-7 will fleet from joining in, introspectively, like he’s been there for decades, and moving from the laps of one family member to another, happily on mine I suspect because of the extra “padding”.
He’ll snuggle in, caress my face and I wonder how much longer I can hold onto the thought and hope of the maternal encounter.
Indeed, just imagining it all, makes me a little teary.
How my heart longs for those moments and I’m sure you have your own, whether it be your particular seat or vantage point, your role in the Mass, the company you keep while there or the simple but extraordinary and intimate presence of Christ.
As wonderful as our clergy have been at meeting online liturgical needs, to be in the moment, all those moments, God’s glory will be extraordinarily amplified.
When such a time arrives, I’m sure you, like us, will be powerfully impacted for what was considered the norm, in the knowing of what was taken away and in what was restored.
What will be restored is the full expression and availability of the sacraments.
The question is, “Have we taken the availability of the sacraments for granted, in the past?”
I can only answer personally and for my family and feel the answer is in the affirmative at times, sadly, despite best efforts and intentions.
There was a constant knowing that the Mass, and especially the Sacrament of Confession, was “there”, a sense of Christ’s readiness and waiting for our “turning up”.
It’s this surety I’ve missed, or thirsted for in the inability to “turn up”.
How I’ve missed the “sitting”, the “being” within both, their safety, welcome and fulfilment.
That’s another thought where the idea wells emotion.
I predict there’ll be rejoicing, like we’ve never seen in our churches, when our faith communities are able to come together again.
I predict that the confessional waiting line will be longer and there’ll be renewed ways of connecting with each other.
These are hopeful predictions.
It’ll be a time when we look back and our young people especially will recall their age and express their own, “Remember when…”
We’ll likely also be examining how well we “did Church” or “were the Church” during this time of challenge.
We’ll be judged on how much we reached out, how much we tried despite difficultly, how inventive we were in all of the above.
What we can consider within the restoration of what was, is how faith expression will be impacted in the future given the isolation and closure lived.
Will there be the collective and noticeable relief to be in the presence of Christ Jesus, as we’re looking forward to?
Will it be fleeting or long lasting?
Will more people seek the Church, in thanksgiving, strengthening or sacramentally?
Today, like all days before us, we continue to live as Easter People where Alleluia is our song, as imperfectly as I sing it.
Be kind to your mother, my sweet, she has older ears and vocal chords than you but she well “remembers when…”