Tuesday, February 15, 2005


So, this morning at the monastery, an old guy limped in to the pew in front of me. He was really tall and this made his halting steps even more waveryish. He was leaning on one of those aluminum canes with the four points on the ground, and as he slowly made his way into the pew, exhaling heavily, my meditation switched from the day's readings, to how many years I have left before that's me.

At the offertory, after Father made his usual three or four thinly veiled liberal diatribes disguised as prayers (this morning we prayed to be "good stewards of the environment" and to repent of "our national aggressiveness"...) the people and the cloistered nuns took their turns calling out other intentions. "We pray to the Lord." I love this part of the Mass because it is such a messy mix of the sublimely transcendant, "We pray that the world will experience a spiritual renewal," to the mundanely personal, "Let us pray for my son who is taking his driver's test today." "Lord, hear our prayer." As an old nun told me once, "it's not small if it's your everything."

Anyway, the prayers moved their way around the chapel, with everybody asking for their stuff, and then the old decrepit man in front of me called out in a surprisingly clear voice, "Let us pray together a prayer of gratitude to God."

And I was feeling sorry for him when he walked in! Yeah, no whining out of me today...

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