Sunday, July 19, 2015

Listening Fail

I was the lone altar server at the 11:15 Mass today.  There was nothing complicated to manage today.  No incense, no visiting priest, no bishop, not even a deacon, just the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The only glitch was a terrific homily: vivid imagery and clarion call to take time in these slower summer days to consider what God desires for us, to sit in the quiet and listen for God's invitation to each of us.  How could a good homily be a glitch, you wonder?  Ah, if the altar server takes the quiet moments after receiving communion to sit with God and contemplate call and response.

I missed the return of the EMHCs, I missed Fr. Dennis settling into the presidential chair for the usual post-communion quiet.  I missed the entire community standing at their cue, "Let us pray..." That would also be my cue to bring the Roman Missal up to the chair.  Thankfully a quick, "Psst..." on the part of the presider and I came to my senses.  Mortified.  I was mortified.

I've wrote a bit on both blogs last week about Jeannette Piccard, a Bryn Mawr college alum, a chemist and the first woman to leave the troposphere.  Dr. Piccard broke other barriers as well.  She was one of the Philadelphia Eleven, eleven women deacons irregularly ordained to the Episcopal priesthood on July 29 in 1974;  the first to be ordained because of her age. She was 79 years old and had felt called to the priesthood for almost 70 years. (In 1916 she wrote an essay titled "Should Women Be Admitted to the Priesthood of the Anglican Church?")

I was thinking about the depth of a call that persists for seven decades, and that when it was finally possible to respond adsum, here I am, wondering at the courage she had to do so, regardless of age.  About patience and trust. And prayed I would have both in the years to come.

There is, I realize, no small irony in failing to listen while contemplating listening.


  1. As is so often the case, you leave me speechless... in the best possible ways.

  2. So much on which to reflect. Thank you!