Monday, April 17, 2006

The Bills You Will Always Have With You

So, as you can see, I'm back.

Last week wasn't so much the intended "hiatus" as just having the time and energy to get to everything I've been too strung out to do since... er... January. And it's nice to have a reminder of what it's like to have a semi-organized life. That said, it's still all chaos, and I need to keep working at reining myself in.

Longtime readers know said task won't be easy at all.

But my Triduum was beautiful, very prayerful, and quiet -- all as it should be, and hopefully all of you got everything you sought from the days of grace. However, after two different reports came in last night of places -- Catholic places, so I'm told -- where massive projectors/jumbotrons were used to flash the words of the hymns and other images on a wall during the liturgies, the news was enough to break the Easter peace and drive me berserk; don't ever expect to find me enjoying the thought of that, let alone the sight. (Call me crazy, but I don't know how anyone can enjoy it....)

My sister and I went to Mass yesterday morning here in the city. It was nice to see a big church so packed that we couldn't find a seat. It was depressing, however, that the Lamb's high feast didn't seem so much to be celebrated in liturgy but, rather, simply observed.

I really hope this wasn't the case for anyone else, but I couldn't help but think while watching it all, leaning against a church wall for an hour, of how lost the Easter message has become to a lot of our people, how an increased responsibility is incumbent on the church to proclaim it and make sure it actually gets through to its people, and the need to express it in welcome and worship so that those who just show up for the day go forth thinking that there's a place for them in our parishes, that this is the place for them and that, without the strays, we're less of a church -- at least, in the sense of its being the gathering of the people of God. Of course, that's not something that can simply be said, but manifested. The fruits, however, are many: people know that call when they hear it, they feel it, they cherish the invitation, and they come (back) and see. And all of us are the better for it.

Sad to say, I didn't feel that so much as an inaccessible liturgy which most likely gave the casually Catholic among the gathered no lure, no richness, no extension of itself so that at least some might feel compelled to seek out an encounter with the living Christ, the Risen Christ who, last time I checked, is supposed to be the whole point of the exercise. My Easter Mass felt inaccessible even to me and, despite all my faults and failings, I'd like to think I'm pretty much in the tent already. I hope.

So that's my nickel tour of what's supposed to be the apex feast of the Christian mystery, and I don't seek to bore or outrage you any more beyond the above.

Moving on, it's amazing what a mention in The Times of London can do. After being linked by John Cornwall in a piece in yesterday's paper, the previous one-day record (set on Consistory Day, 24 March) was shattered and Whispers picked up 10,000 Visitors on Easter day.

Talk about Resurrections....

Anyway, it's ironic that such a boon occurred as I spent most of last week coming to terms with the reality that, under the current conditions, these pages live on borrowed time. I've said it before and have tried in spite of it to make things work, but having difficulty in keeping faith is part of being human and -- more to the point -- it's becoming ever more inescapable that there's a certain something called "survival" that I need to get a handle on.

Professionally, I can honestly say that I will never have more fun nor fulfillment doing anything else than the experience of all this. Hopefully some of you have been able to sense that, and I never cease to be absolutely shocked and grateful that so many have come along for the ride. I love this beat more than anything and could do it forever. But, as with any work, to do so requires a stability which blogging doesn't yet confer, for the most part. And my bill collectors are reminding me of how important that is.

I've been trying to stave these words off as long as possible but, well, this is what is, and if it's meant for this work to continue in some form, then Deus providebit and so it goes. But know that I've always hoped and tried to give the best of myself to this work, and I pray I've succeeded as much as I know I've fallen short.

I'm not going anywhere just yet, but whatever happens, just pray that I can keep trusting, because that's what's gotten me this far. Such are the ways of Providence that you couldn't make them up if you wanted to.

Amen, end of sermon.