It’s been over twenty-two years since I entered the Catholic Church. I was in my late 40s. I never knew the pre-Vatican II Church, with its older liturgy and its older perspectives. Therefore, I don’t feel – or some might say, suffer from – the nostalgia and occasional regrets of my chronological contemporaries.
I also suffer from a handicap. I am not an intellectual, nor a ready student of theology, nor any other subject. I am not a learned Catholic.
I entered the Church because God meant me to be there for His own purposes, in His own good time. I know that I had been destined for it before I was conscious of the idea of destiny. I would have been astonished if anyone had told me, when I was younger, that I would become a Catholic. And yet, entering the Church was not a surprise to me. I feel myself at home in a great house which I am just beginning to explore.
At Mass, I struggle to remember why I am there and what it is I am present for. I realize that I am more than a witness standing at Golgotha and later, at the Tomb. God is trying to tell me something not only about the cosmos, its history, its passion and its destiny, but about myself and my fellow human creatures. I struggle with this remembrance. And when I approach the altar to receive the Blessed Sacrament, I often keep reminding myself of what I am about to receive: The Body of Christ, true God and true man, who keeps watch with me over the Cross and the Tomb.
Yes, I know, Christ died on Golgotha, not Gethsemane. But Gethsemane is where Our Lord died to His own will, in obedience to His Father. At least, that’s the way I think of it.
THE SANCTUS BELL
There is a bell above each soul, Transfiguration
(Thank Christ for offering His revelation)
And for the soul an offering in heaven
Said by God, with angels there to serve it,
Christ Himself who is the priest and Host,
The flesh of sacrifice for each new soul
To which He genuflects in charity
On Mount Gethsemane, where first He died
Christ the first new death, who dies for love,
Who suffers all the pangs of love denied,
And yet by sacrifice He offers love
For each new soul that rises from the altar
Each new soul is sanctified that Sunday
In every church, and God’s love is the offering