16 January 2007

With all the company of heaven...

I can’t believe how soft I have become. After growing up in New England, you’d think a little freezing rain and temperatures in the 20’s wouldn’t bother me. Well, it does. My blood has thinned, I guess, after almost twenty-five years in south Texas.

Classes at the parish school were cancelled today, and quite rightly. The roads are a bit slippery, and since most people here are unaccustomed to driving in icy conditions, it’s best that people stay home if at all possible. We did, however, keep our usual Mass schedule. It wasn’t difficult for me to get here, living just around the corner from the church as I do, and I sent out an e-mail to parishioners to let them know the Masses would be said, just in case anyone ventured out.

There were only five of us at the 7:00 a.m. Mass. The Sacred Heart Chapel was quiet and beautiful, the wind was blowing outside, with a mist of rain freezing over everything. One of the teachers had managed to drive in, and I asked him after the Mass if he would be able to serve at the 8:45 a.m. Mass, which he was happy to do.

As the clock was approaching the time for the second Mass to begin, he asked me, “Do you think we’ll be by ourselves for Mass?” I knew what he meant, but I couldn't resist saying, “No, the chapel will be packed!” His quizzical look didn’t disappoint me. It enabled me to go on to say, “It’ll be crowded with angels and archangels and more saints than we could count.” His smile showed his understanding. And by the time we began the Mass, there were several others in the pews, too.

That thought is frequently in my mind when saying Mass. I like to picture legions of angels gathered around the altar. I like to think of saints from ages past standing shoulder to shoulder, praying in unison with those of us still in the Church Militant. Of course, it’s nice when the pews are packed. But even if they’re almost empty, the place is still crowded.