Our dear sweet little Father John was on vacation this week, resulting in no weekday Mass. This was disappointing and made me a bit sad. Which in turn surprised me. I was sad that I wouldn't get a chance to attend Mass twice this week? Very unlike me.
When I took a minute to examine what was the source of my sadness over this, I realized that the quiet routine of Mass brings me to a calm place. It is an hour to absorb ancient words passed down from the earliest Christians. It is an hour of peace in a serene house of God. It is an hour to live the faith I am learning about. I can let my mind wander as my eyes take in the beauty of our church. I can let my mind be lead by the reading of the scripture. I can bow my head and take a break from my life. It is almost as if time stops for me during Mass.
With Father John away, we had a visiting monk from Subiaco for our weekend Mass. I had been eagerly looking forward to this all week. Yesterday was the first time Cash has attended Mass with us, being as how he was ill last Sunday. Eli was at his father's and was wishing he had been home to attend this Mass with the visiting Brother. Cash, Stella, and I chose a pew closer to the front than usual. I had been wanting to see the whole thing better, to watch as the Father blessed the Holy Eucharist. The visiting monk was a tall older man who had a very stately manner about him. He spoke loud and clear and with just enough self deprecation to make him relateable. His homily addressed loving your neighbor and he spoke about Mother Theresa giving advice to a young woman who was having trouble loving some people she found difficult. Her wisdom was to instruct the woman to smile at five people she disliked every day. Brother Brandon told his own personal narrative of trying to do the same thing every day especially with the students he teaches at the academy. It was a good message on how its okay to like some people more than others but you should be kind to all no matter what. And in smiling at those you dislike, it can help you learn to like them more.
While I quite enjoyed the entire Mass, the funny thing, or the thing that stuck with me or seemed out of place, was that as Brother Brandon was exiting down the aisle he paused as he reached Cash who was standing closest to the aisle. He reached out his fist. Cash hesitated for a second and then reached out his own fist for a bump. Brother smiled and proceeded on. I leaned down and whispered in his ear, "Did you just get a fist bump from a monk?" His smile stretched across his face as he nodded. His very first time at Mass and he is singled out by a visiting monk for a small sign of solidarity and acceptance.
I very much wish I could have spoken with this man. His grace and contentedness drew me toward him and I would have liked to ask him some questions. And maybe our paths will cross again at some point, I can at least hope they do.