I don’t know if it comes with age (or perhaps I should say “with maturity”), but I find that my emotions are more easily moved. Not to torrents of tears, mind you – but the eyes tend to mist a bit more often and the lump comes to the throat. It doesn’t bother me that this happens. If it did, I wouldn’t be mentioning it here. But I’ve noticed it happening more lately. Not often, but a bit more than when I was younger. I guess I don’t mind having my emotions show, especially when it comes to things that really matter.
For instance, this past Saturday I officiated at a wedding. The bride has been in the parish from the time she was a toddler. The groom has been here since he was a boy in middle school. When she started down the aisle, with the pipe organ thundering and the congregation standing in expectation, I started in with the brimming-over eyes. Fortunately I know the Rite of Holy Matrimony by heart, because I certainly couldn’t see it to read it.
Or this past Good Friday is another example. As I was holding the relic of the True Cross, with hundreds of familiar and beloved people – old and young, families together, widows, college students – all coming to venerate the instrument of our salvation, I ended up with tears streaming down my face. Heck, my eyes are watering again, just thinking about it.
And at confirmation, the same thing. These are children whom I’ve baptised, or adults who have come with questions and who ended up wanting to become Catholics. What a privilege to present them to the bishop to be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It never fails to get to me.
It’s even happened a few times at Mass when I turn around to show the Sacred Host to the Faithful. “Behold the Lamb of God, who takest away the sin of the world…” And I think to myself, “This really is! Here is God Himself!” And it just astounds me, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it sometimes moves me to tears.
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m some sort of blubbering old man with perpetually red-rimmed eyes. But what God does on a day by day basis in the lives of His children really affects me. And it causes what some of our kids call “happy tears.” I don’t mind. In fact, I’m kind of grateful for the fact that I’m not so jaded that I can’t let the odd tear trickle down. This faith of ours really is a beautiful thing.