Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All Saints Day 2006

All Saints

Posted on the 4th Day of the 30th Week of Ordinary Time - 2006 AD - (Year B)

1st November 2006. It's one of the few Holy Days of Obligation still remaining (apart from Sunday of course). I am called into a late meeting at work. As the minutes tick away and the meeting drags on, I watch the clock. It ends in time for me to reach the All Saints Mass, but without a comfortable margin. I drive like an insane person the 20 miles or so to my parish church. 'This can't be right!' I keep thinking. I am driving dangerously to fulfill my Holy Obligation. It's a dilemma, but I really don't want to miss the Holy Mass. I get to few enough as it is. Tonight, I tell myself, God trumps the speed limit. It's like my life is to small for everything packed into it.

Lunchtime was the same, another meeting, running over, I dash to the Adoration Chapel near work in time to recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet, dash back to work again.

This is how my day felt. But the reality was actually different. Looking at the clock, knowing rush hour traffic. I knew I had to make haste, to say the least, to get to Mass, or to the Adoration Chapel in time. All my experience told me: 'Your late, the meeting ran over, you need to really push it to get to where you need to go in time!' So off I ran, recklessly, dangerously.

However, at lunchtime, after my hasty Divine Mercy Chaplet and dash back to work, I found I was back at work much earlier than usual. Somehow there had been no need to rush. In the evening, I arrived, bedraggled, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the Solemnity of the Feast of All Saints. I sat and waited in the cold church for a good ten minutes before the Mass began. My fear had been: pews full, no hymn books, Mass already starting as I walk in. The reality was the exact opposite.

Ironically for an All Saints day homily, Father was quite scathing about what he described as the 'top' Saints. I winced as he began to snipe at them, in general terms, as if they were filmstars or politicians and wondered what they could ever have possibly done to offend him. I learned to forgive Father some time ago, his eccentric mix of liberalism and traditionalism. His homilies often seemingly hostile, his liturgy, by contrast, always by the book, no adlibs, nothing missing nothing added. Now I just look into the middle distance or at the candles flickering around Our Lady, or at her smile as she holds the Infant Jesus toward me in her arms, outstretched, welcoming. Usually something good jumps out of each of Father's homilies anyway. Saint Faustina said this once about a confessor she had difficulty with, that he would, in the end, say the thing that she needed to hear, as if God was speaking through him. The day itself had been a homily for me. It showed me that all my rushing here and there was in vain and made no real difference to anything. The superhuman (ie: all too human) over effort I extend which gets me nowhere, without the grace of God. His grace, His Life, is all that makes anything good possible.

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