Friday, July 30, 2010

Hail Mary

This morning even before I got out of bed, my thoughts turned for some reason to the "Hail Mary." Not typical for me to start the day with that particular prayer, but not unusual in the least, since it's one of the two most-recited prayers for Catholics.

I know some people have problems with the whole "Mary thing" in our faith. But really, anyone who has ever asked a friend to pray for him or her, and who believes in life after death, has what they need to understand why Catholics would ask Mary to "pray for us sinners." We've got a friend in the mother of Jesus.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ensemble rehearsal

Our group takes off for the month of July, but now we are back in business since the Sunday coming up falls in August. It's a small ensemble this week; the summer is not over and some folks have other places to be. As we plowed through a new song we are learning, I noticed a young woman with long blond hair sitting in the back of church, praying with elbows propped on the pew in front of her. Now, in most cases, if someone I don't know has entered the church, I am going to want to go over and say hi, and help that person find the meeting they are looking for in another building.

But she was praying. A little while later, a young man joined her, and prayed, and then they both left. A thought came to me about having seen a notice of some event that overlapped with our practice, so maybe they were passing time before or afterward. Got a little extra time? Let's go pray.

A while later, a married couple that I know entered the church. So many visits during one practice? Highly unusual. Now, in most cases, when someone I know has entered the church, I'm going to want to go over and say hi, and "Liz, I saw on Facebook that you were power-washing your deck. How did that go?"

But they were praying. (Well, and I was rehearsing, too). That conversation can wait.

So, there's a thing about being Catholic. An unlocked church is an invitation to pray.


Two days ago (but at night) I was sitting with my mom in a hospital ER cubicle. She has a rather large bruise, or what the hospital calls "contusion" on her side, the pain of which was what drove us both to be there. Minutes after my arrival, before the first of the cheerful swarm of caregivers entered the area to ask questions and probe possibilities, the hospital P.A. came and someone announced the end of visiting hours. But that was followed by something I did not expect: she announced that we would end the evening in prayer, continuing with words directed to God, none of which I can recall now. Immediately afterward my thought was, "oh, this is a Catholic hospital" (and then, "duh, Ann, St. John"). It was a moment of calm after my trip across town, and a reminder that the events of the evening were not unfolding without the notice of God.