Friday, May 15, 2015

Your Hearts Will Rejoice

"When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish.  But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you."  ~John 16:20-23 as proclaimed by Deacon Andrew Linn at  daily Mass 

Paul and I with Deacon Andrew Linn before he was a deacon
I woke up Friday morning determined to have a good day.  I'd been in a funk of late, feeling certain that the devil was spiritually attacking me in his anger over the recent Roses for Our Lady May Crowning Celebration that I had helped plan, knowing that he hates to see Our Lady honored, and I was irritable, cranky, overwhelmed and tired for the past few weeks, and seemed unable to shake the bad mood.  But this day was going to be different, I was sure. I was going to put a smile on and enjoy the day.  

However, on the way to work the traffic was terribly congested and I felt my irritation returning.  I glanced at myself in the rear-view mirror with distaste as I noticed that my new anti-frizz hair serum made my freshly washed hair look greasy, and my favorite parking spot was already occupied when I arrived at work.  "Hmmph," I grumbled, "this good day is already going down hill."

When I got to my office I desperately stuck my head in the bathroom sink to rinse out the hair serum in the hopes of thwarting a bad hair day and then made it through the busy morning at work pleasantly enough.  I was grateful that I got to my lunch break in time to make the 12:05 Mass at the Church of the Gesu just two blocks away from my office.

I stood on the corner of 12th Street and Wisconsin Avenue waiting for the light to change, silently praying the third decade of my rosary, and was trying to not be too distracted by the homeless woman across the street who was walking into Gesu Church.  She's a regular attendee at the 12:05 Mass, walking in and out of the church during Mass and asking for donations from people as they return to their pews after Communion.  I often feel repelled by her appearance and her behavior during Mass and struggle with offering her kindness and compassion.  I asked Jesus to help me to see Him inside of her.  After all, it wasn't too long ago that Pope Francis asked how we can hope to see Jesus in the Eucharist if we can't see Him in the beggar outside the church door.  I think of St. Francis of Assisi who overcame his disgust of leprosy by finally kissing a leper and felt that the likelihood of me ever becoming a saint, me who is more concerned with bad hair days and bad traffic than with loving the poor and the suffering, was highly unlikely.

At that very moment, lost in that distracted prayer, I heard a deep and cheerful voice behind me say, "Hello, Anne!"  I turned toward the voice and saw a man in a clerical collar but didn't recognize him at first.  Then I realized that it was my friend, Deacon Andrew Linn, who had just been ordained three weeks earlier.  It was the first time that I'd seen him in his collar since his ordination day and the surprise of it threw me off.  He had said that he hoped to assist at Mass and we hurried into church together.  Deacon Andrew did a fabulous job at the side of Fr. Roc O'Connor of the St. Louis Jesuits fame.  And during the Prayer of the Faithful, as Fr. Roc gave a  little time for the congregation to voice their petitions out loud, I overheard a man giving thanks for Deacon Andrew and I silently joined him in his prayer of gratitude.

And with that surprise appearance from my friend, and the sight of him joyfully and eagerly assisting at Mass, my dark mood lifted and the early morning determination for a happy day was realized.  I went forward into the afternoon with more confidence that my spirit would remain joyful, and with hope that love and compassion for the poor will continue to grow within my heart.  Deacon Andrew Linn made my day!  Please keep Deacon Andrew and his classmates, Deacon Patrick Behling and Deacon Michael Wolfe, in your prayers as they continue their preparation for ordination to the priesthood next year.

2 comments:

  1. Beautifully written Anne! I love the honesty and depth of your writing. The struggles are ongoing on so many levels aren't they? I try to imagine the joy in heaven that ensued with the Roses For Our Lady May Crowning Celebration and the gratitude for all the sacrifices, however large or small, and labor to make it happen. I am so thankful your mood lifted and you could experience the deeper joy. My prayers go out to include you, your Deacon friends and the homeless woman of your parish and streets....

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