October 2, 2011
I wrote in a previous blog about my experience with Mother Mary in the Rosary Garden in Montpelier. Since then I have been curious, and a little afraid, to attend a Catholic mass. I didn't know if it would seem too foreign, or if I would be confused trying to follow an unfamiliar service. But this morning Beezy and I went to mass at St. Patrick's in Bryan. The sanctuary was full, so we had to sit in the far back, which was fine. I could observe without feeling conspicuous!
I was looking around for a statue of Mary, as I had remembered seeing when a close friend of mine got married in the Catholic church, her uncle being a priest. I remember wondering about the part during her wedding in which just the bride kneeled in front of Mary's statue. My friend explained to me that women pray to Mary for help with the particular concerns of being a woman. I didn't see Mary at first in the sanctuary, because as it turned out, she was directly to the left of my chair! I didn't think that was a coincidence. There were candles lit before her, which I imagine represent people's prayers.
I really enjoyed the service. I felt more peaceful there than I have all week, and it helped that the sun was shining brightly. The sermon was given by a retired priest, and his message about marriage was one of love and service. I felt uplifted and not uncomfortable at all, except for a moment when I was offered communion. Some Catholic churches don't like people of other denominations to take communion, but they usually say so in that case, and this morning they did not. So I took it, hoping I didn't do it "wrong," by which I mean that the ritual is a bit different in the Protestant denominations.
The only problem with the service was that there was no children's church, so all the squirmy, bored, and in some cases crying kids were in the sanctuary for the entire mass. I would like to continue to attend the Catholic church and see if I want to officially join (convert?), but I want Beezy to have a good experience too. Since my husband is gone on Wednesday evenings, maybe I will have Beezy attend one of the many church programs for children in Montpelier on those nights, and I will go to mass by myself. My husband is not a regular church goer.
The pastor today specifically recognized God as having both a feminine and a masculine face, and I felt enveloped in love and consoled in my spirit. It felt like home. There is also a Catholic mass in Montpelier on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. While a little early for me, I would like to visit there too. I will continue to pray and to listen for the answer to where I belong. I feel a contentment in my new relationship with the Virgin Mary that I have not, perhaps, ever felt in my spiritual life. There is much to learn in this unfamiliar tradition, so I am entering it with an open heart, mind, and spirit. I am reading a book from the library called Mother of God written by a Medieval expert on the history of Mary and the development of Christianity on a global scale, up to the 16th century.
I sometimes do work on Sundays, but I really want to set Sunday aside as a day of rest, reflection, family, and contemplation. I am planning to head to my grandparents' log cabin in the woods of Michigan today with my family and experience the divinity present in nature, the peace and quiet, although full of the soothing sounds of Life. There are many ways to worship, and I receive such feelings of respite and reprieve from this closeness to wild Mother Earth.