Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Friday, October 14, 2011

A couple thoughts

Today I went to the Messa Vespertina at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. It is a Dominican parish with the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena. It also happens to be a Gothic church, a rare commodity here in Rome. The Mass was the Mass was the Mass, but the Dominican friars who say Mass there are very short. They are not quite dwarves, but if someone were to tell me that in the Middle Ages, men were 5 feet tall barely taller, I would say "Yes, in fact I have seen some." They look straight out of an earlier era. It reminds one of something...something about universality, timelessness etc. The Church, maybe.

The congregation is mostly old women. In fact, that is the case everywhere here in Rome. The funny thing is, every Mass I've been to (daily and Sunday) has been decently attended considering each is one Mass of about fifty a day in the surrounding neighborhood. They seem to be very devout and quite unconsciously showy about it. It's all a very nebulous affair. Maybe they'll come in late maybe they'll pray three rosaries beforehand but whatever the case, the complete their set of devotions however they can. They wander over to a statue of Mary near the altar after Communion and light a candle. You know, devoted and somewhat wandery. It's very pleasant to watch people who actually connect with something supernatural in such a holy way.

However, there are young people. They generally are employed and so often don't have the same wandering sensibility that the older generations do. They come and are quite devout (I doubt they would be there if they didn't want to be). They are well dressed and they leave right after Mass, but not before the Priest leaves. Although the Mass attendance may be less for the young people, the ones that come seem to understand it. Also, Fr. Cliff Ermatinger, my pastor from back home, said that they are quite sincere and well formed from his experience in confessionals. They understand the supernatural in a way that the more puritanical anglos tend to.

I don't know what it's like everywhere else in Europe, but the creative minority is a pretty visible one here in Italy. Yes, they may live in a culture of passion where temptation is rampant and they may often give into it, but did Jesus ever say he would not forgive these sins?

He did not.

Every saint was a sinner. Heros always have flaws. Alongside the best virtue is often a grave fault. This is humanity. Let us not then despair of our brothers in sin who seem to fall to great depths. They may be devoutly seeking Christ. Let us never forget, like the Italians, that God is there for sinners.

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