I’m a sensationalist kind of girl. The more melodramatic and miraculous the event, the more I like it. In my spiritual life, I’ve witnessed a lot of those moments.
I’ve been physically healed at a Marian apparition site; shed copious tears at another apparition site; felt my eyes pop out of their sockets when a paralytic stood up from her wheelchair and walked after a priest’s healing Mass; been slain by the Spirit and gawked at other bodies “thwacked” out flat, too; smelled the odor of sanctity on a living prophet (My nose sniffed her too close for her comfort); heard live the amazing testimonies of two of the Mejugorje visionaries; felt my goose bumps rise with my arms along with my heart rate at a Spirit-filled praise and worship concert and occasionally, I have unforgettable dreams of Our Lady blessing me with her presence.
But the Latin Mass with all its reverence and solemnity moves me like no spectacular spiritual event has ever done. The language of heaven is a steady, quiet rhythm, almost like a lullaby. To me, it is barely audible and hardly comprehensible, as I can’t follow along the English Translation when I’m holding and trying to pacify a toddler (who thinks that sacred spaces are perfect acoustic settings for blabbering and whose busybody hands have to turn the page to wherever the Mass is not currently on). But there is something otherworldly in its depth. It’s as if a divine peace floats out of the altar, soothes me like a mother’s cuddle, hushes my mind’s commotion, stills my soul and graces me with… the Holy of Holies.
“With the Eucharist, therefore, Heaven comes down to earth, the future of God enters the present and it is as though time were embraced by divine eternity." ~ Homily for the Feast of Corpus Christi, 2009
As I contemplated that on my way home from the Latin Mass, my four year old blurts out, “I like that Mass, Momma. Christ the King is my favorite Church.”
“Really?” I say. “How so?”
I was very eager to hear her take on the supernatural peace I experienced myself. After all, this was no ordinary child. This is the same four year old who once listened to a Filipino Church hymn she couldn’t understand and burst into tears, saying, “Momma, I love God so much, I want to be in heaven with Him so bad!” So it was only natural that I had astronomical expectations of her profound insights. She’d set the bar so high.
“Because,” she answers. “They have stair steps I can go up and down on and there’s a kitty outside I can play with!”
“Oh. Is that all?”
“No. They also have veils out in the lobby that I can fold up and use to scrub my face and arms.”
I guess the Latin Mass was only solemn and sacred to me. It went right over the head of my spiritual prodigy. Just like her mantilla veil did.
Which made me wonder: how many sublime graces have I missed out on because I’d been fixated on the sensational instead of the hidden, the distractions rather than the focus, the gifts before the Giver, the created than the Creator?
I don’t regret any of my stimulating spiritual experiences because they were all stair steps that led me to greatest miracle of all: the Eucharist. But what I regret are all those years as a lukewarm Catholic when I drove and walked past Masses being celebrated daily, where the Holy of Holies –the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ --waited patiently for me. What a shame. What a waste. I’ll never get those days back and regain the graces I squandered.
But Deo gratias, I have the present moment, a new beginning to my eternity, and a daily Latin Mass a stone’s throw away from our house.
Ergo: after my six year old receives her First Communion in a few weeks, I’m doing all I can to make sure the years she spends with me are not in vain. Together, she and I will make Jesus the source and summit of our lives. Not just on Sundays. But Carpe diem, as they say. As for the four year old, she’ll just have to tag along habeas corpus until she gets Who the Eucharist is about (and also be reminded that veils do not double as loofas). And the two-year-old will have to start learning the Latin Mass verbatim and teach us all, pro bono, because that’s as good as my Latin gets.
Amen. (BTW, Am I the last Catholic to know that "Amen" means "so be it"?)