A few weeks ago I was present at a Mass that I’ll never forget. I don’t think the children will either.
It was during Lent, when our country quickly began shutting down all around us, and our bishops began closing churches and denying the sacraments. It was surreal to be abandoned like that. I mean, to have bishops willingly label the Church as “nonessential” overnight, for a virus.
The Mass, however, the Mass we attended that morning was beautiful. We hiked up a hill in the rain with our umbrellas, knowing that we would only have to remain in the rain, as the government had deemed the church “unsafe” and “nonessential.” And so we stood with about 15 other people in the pouring rain.
The old friar celebrating the TLM had set up a screen in the piazza, under an overhang, so that we could pray along with him. We all knelt on hard concrete in sopping puddles. At communion time, a different friar came outside and distributed Holy Communion to a wet, cold flock.
It is difficult to tell you how I felt. I was thinking of Abraham pleading for Sodom and Gomorrah. Oh, Lord, here are about 25 faithful people! Relent! But I was thankful too–so very, very thankful–that those friars understood what was important. They were doing everything they could to administer to our souls. Indeed, another friar was hearing confessions during the Mass. Deep emotions of gratitude welled up within me. I felt so blessed; I knew the love of God in that moment–I felt it through those holy friars.
Furthermore, I wanted to embrace those other 15 people, who were willing to suffer for Jesus and endure that dismal, penitential rain. And I loved my husband, for he held the baby and took the brunt of the weather, sheltering us as best as he could.
Who would ever have thought that we’d be in a situation like that? And how, O Lord, will it end?
Ah, but life will never be the same. A line has been drawn.
And our children are watching. What will we do?