Monday, May 23, 2011
It is Full Merry in Heaven!
I've recently read The Book of Margery Kempe. Margery was a contemporary of Blessed Julian of Norwich and her book is the story of "a creature" as she calls herself, and her experiences of God's presence in her life and her many pilgrimages throughout Europe. Margery was blessed with the gift of tears in a very dramatic way. It seems that she was not silent when she'd cry, but instead was given to loud sobbing during Mass, much to the chagrin of others who happened to be in church with her at the same time, including the priests who would be saying Mass. My favorite line in the book came when Margery had a vision where she clearly heard the music in heaven and she told her husband, "It is full merry in heaven!"
This morning, while still coming down from an "ordination-induced high" (I promise-I will write more about it-I have much to say!)I spent a few too many extra minutes reading facebook posts and blog posts about the wonderful weekend just past and left myself with far too few minutes to get myself and my two youngest to church on time. We quickly drove to Mass and arrived during the entrance hymn. Since I am the Monday morning lector, Jack and Mary and I took our place in the front pew and I tried to catch my breath for the first reading.
Standing at the ambo today was more delightful than ever because I was remembering the beautiful event that occured at this very church just the day before, the blessed first Mass of the newly ordained Fr. Christopher Klusman. I also recalled the words of my dear daily Mass friend, Mrs. Bauer, who sat with my family and I during yesterday's Mass and whispered to me, "I feel as if I'm halfway to heaven!" So, I smiled my way through the entire breathless reading of the Acts of the Apostles and continued to smile as I returned to the pew and joined Jack and Mary for the remainder of the Mass.
During the consecration, Jack came down with a case of the hiccups and as we were singing the Memorial Acclamation, out came a loudly audible hiccup! I lost all control. My breathless smile turned to laughter. As I tried to contain the laughing and keep it silent, my body just shook and the tears ran down my face so that there was barely a difference between laughing and crying to those who had seen me! Now I've been known to shake quite a bit while at Mass due to side-effects from medication, but this was completely different! Despite my efforts to silence my surprise and out-of-place laughter at Jack's hiccups, I continued to shake and spurt until I received Jesus in the Eucharist.
I know that I have written here before about the beautiful custom of Risus Paschalis, the Easter laugh, and how it chases the devil away, so I hope and pray that my laughing in church today was a delight to God as well as to the others around me, especially to poor Fr. Dennis at the altar, and that I wasn't a hindrance to prayer like Margery Kempe was often told that she was. I guess that I could say that my experience at Mass today was a testimony to the words of Margery Kempe-it is full merry in heaven, since according to Mrs. Bauer, we are already halfway there!