Please forgive the recent absence of substantiative posts. It is my policy to write only when I feel inspired to do so. Otherwise, I fear that this blog may turn into a "rant" instead of conveying some measure of God's grace to you as my reader. I must admit, I have not felt particularly inspired as of late.
I suppose that the stress of the previous week--and, really, that of the past few months-- did finally catch up with me. All of the things I had put off during my trip home came back with a vengeance. Whatever remaining bit of strength I had left was completely sapped by the obligations of Holy Week. On top of that, I felt unwell. In truth, I would be hard-pressed to recall a previous time in which I felt as stressed, run down, or bone-weary. My typical cheerful spirit was replaced by a shadow of its former self. Unfortunately, this desolation of my physical body also began to wear away at my soul.
I attended the Cathedral's Chrism Mass on Holy Tuesday with my Husband, the friend I am sponsoring (who is one of his colleagues), and the rest of the university's RCIA group. It turned out to be a mixed blessing. At long last, I was able to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. That, in and of itself, was an unspeakable joy! The ushers had truly gone out of their way to be kind when my Husband had inquired about special provisions. In the end, they whisked the three of us away from our group to sit in the very front row of the church, in the "special needs" section. My friend felt so honoured by this, for it meant that she could see the Mass in an up-close-and-personal sort of way. I was glad for her sake. However, this aside, the liturgy was utter agony. I had prepared myself for liturgical abuse, but this went beyond even my expectations. I was also the only woman wearing a veil. My Husband and I were the only ones around us who knelt for the consecration. This had to be done on the cold, hard marble floor, as we had no kneelers. Certainly each deacon or priest there-- as well as His Excellency, the Bishop, himself could not help but notice. Due to the 'interesting' layout of the newly renovated Cathedral, they were looking straight at us. I felt every inch the freak that I am. What is worse: the next morning, I learned that I had been mentioned in a local Catholic blog.
It was difficult not to be upset. It seems that every single time I ask my Husband to make special provisions for me, they end in disaster. I have decided that I must ask him to stop altogether. I would much rather go without.
The last time this sort of thing had happened, it was at a Tridentine Mass just before my goddaughter's baptism. The priest had called my Husband and me up to kneel at the foot of the altar, just behind the acolytes, from the time of the second confiteor until the distribution of Holy Communion. Then, he had handed me the Chalice. If I had known all of this prior to the beginning of Mass, I would have run out of the church screaming. It went well beyond my comfort zone of the altar rail. I had been so traumatised by this event that, hours and hours later, upon finally returning home, I curled up in a ball and had sobbed my heart out like I was dying.
Some time after this event had taken place, our priest at our home parish had pulled my Husband and me aside. He prefaced his lecture by saying, "I will try to say this as nicely as I can..." Such words always indicate to me that something bad is about to be said. And it was every bit as horrible as I had anticipated. Father had reprimanded me for "crunching" the low-gluten Host after I had received it upon my tongue. He had feared that anyone hearing it might wonder and inquire about it to him. Again, I knew what it was to be a freak, and, to be honest, I have not quite gotten over it. I have not received Holy Communion at that parish since.
I am beginning to become rather apprehensive about tonight's Easter Vigil.
I am sometimes extremely tired of being "special." I am tired of being the freak in a skirt, a freak in a veil, the freak who only ever receives Holy Communion on the tongue, and a stay-at-home freak of a wife and woman. I hate that special provisions must be made for me at Mass. What I hate most of all is this: I cannot just be normal. During these bouts of frustration, it is difficult not to be angry at God. All of these things together-- my frustration, stress and burnout, and feeling quite under the weather-- culminated with a rather horrific fiasco on Holy Thursday. Be assured: I have paid for my folly as for a crime. While it is in my nature to seek out penitential approaches to repentance immediately upon returning to my senses, my Husband is even more determined to teach me the peril my soul faces by committing such actions in the first place. I could not hear the Good Friday Gospel reading without feeling a measure of personal sympathy. Truly, though, I am blessed beyond measure. He may be a wonderful man, even my best friend, but my Husband and I are not equals. It is my obligation to obey him as the Voice of God in my life, in all things short of sin. No matter how I may feel in any given moment, I need to remember my place as a woman. I must know my place as his wife. Even more: I must live it.
On Good Friday, the Church commemorates the death and burial of Our Lord. Those of us who have been buried with Him in baptism (1 Pet 3:21; Rom 6:4; Colossians 2:11-12) must live in such a way that we may also share in the joy of His resurrection. And so, during this Easter Tridiuum, I choose to recommit myself to living out my vocation, wholly and completely, no matter how I may feel at any given moment. Freak or not, may God's will be done in my life: I choose the yolk of Holy Obedience. It is my prayer that you choose it, too, according to your station in life.