At that time, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And when the angel had come to her, he said, Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. When she had heard him she was troubled at his word, and kept pondering what manner of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace with God. Behold, you shall conceive in your womb and shall bring forth a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father, and He shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.
The Mass today was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin; many might not realize this, but Our Lady of Guadalupe is often taken as the patroness of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
The Blessed Mother presented herself as an image in a way that local indigenous people would recognize the message as a “codex”–she used the language of the people to reach the people. She allowed herself to be transformed so she could be understood, then loved.
That’s the short version.
Tonight after Mass I realized I’m more than half way through a year being a priest. I took some time to think about the direction my service has been aimed. There’s been moments where I’ve had invitation to take part in the “drama” of the Independent Sacramental Movement, moments where I’ve asked where the Eucharist plays a part in all of this. I realized that, for the most part, I’ve carried the Word through the Mass in my own private chapel out into the world in actions–hopefully–that have conveyed the love of God without saying so.
I asked myself, as I often do, how to best serve the Alphabet Mafia as a Catholic Priest. I’m not sure I have that answer yet–I’m not sure I’ll ever get that answer. And that’s ok.
I also have witnessed in the last 30 days tremendous pain and suffering around me. Not without purpose, but rather transformational. We lost our dog of 13 years. I wept tonight again, it still feels as fresh and stings as much as the night we came home after we let her go. She left this place, ran free, and her energy and love are still here even though she’s not. I’ve seen people I care about recognize that the suffering they’ve undergone, the sacrifices they’ve made, not recognized by the people they made those sacrifices for, but rather find themselves caught in a cycle of dysfunctional thinking, blame, all caused by a lack of communication and a childish resentment for the inability to read minds. Risks taken at the cost of contemptable safety. Courageous risks! And I’ve seen how the effort of two or three people can cut, can exhaust, batter, and bruise the heart.
I listen. I hug, support. I fold clothes, wash floors, clean counters, cook meals, fade into the background, pressing hard the ego that wants recognition. Recognition isn’t part of this. I allow the pain around me to resonate in my own pain, unify that pain with Christ’s suffering, offer it up and ask it to be used as a grace in someone’s life.
In doing that, we allow ourselves the opportunity for the event, the emotion, the moment to transform us, to be understood by others.