It's the middle of the night and here I am on the page about 6 hours too early. That's going to mess with my day tomorrow. C'est la vie. My compounded tiredness of the week caught up to me and I chose to nap in the early evening. At this moment I'm fully experiencing the relationship between cause and effect.
Yesterday I went to church an hour early and enjoyed sitting in the sanctuary alone. I set up the altar for Mass and then sat in my pew with the lights off. Daylight streamed through the old fashioned single pane windows, keeping me company. It was a very peaceful place to spend time in contemplative prayer. A real stillness settled within me. For once the stillness was bearable and even soothing.
Eventually people started to come in for the Mass. First the priest and then little by little, we gathered. I can always tell when the priest comes in because the first thing he does is turn on the lights. Sometimes I wonder what big city people would think of our relaxed ways out here in the boondocks. The Mass starts when we figure all the regular attenders who are going to show up, do. If that means it starts 5 minutes late then, oh well. If that means there's only three of us, oh well. Today we had 15 or so gathered around the altar for the Eucharist.
One thing I especially appreciate about this priest is his emphasis on a heart relationship with Christ. He often talks about the emptiness of praying, attending Mass, receiving the Sacraments without those things coming out of a heart relationship.
Today, as he was emphasizing that point, I gazed at a statue of the Sacred Heart Of Jesus. Often when I look on it I remember a day when I felt like Jesus told me he wanted my heart open, exposed and touching his. It wasn't a pleasant image - more like my chest had been ripped open and Jesus then grabbed me by the front of my shirt and pulled me close so his exposed heart could mingle with mine. I don't exactly know how the cause and effect of that translates into daily life, but I continue to find that image a comfort, a challenge and something to ponder every time I gaze upon His face.