The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Communion of Saints

Today I had the privledge of lectoring at our 12:15pm mass. It was celebrated by Monsignor Campbell, who has become an inspiring person in my life. Monsignor is eighty years old; a World War II vet who saw action in the South Pacific with the Marines; and he is an excellent homilist. He also suffers from debilitating back pain. No longer can he process into the church, and most days he distributes communion from a chair one of the alter servers places at the front of the sactuary before communion. He could retire, but you can tell that he simply loves being a priest and celebrating the mass.

Normally his homilies run a little on the long side, but he is such a good speaker that few of the congregation mind. Today, was different. It went something like this:

"You heard the first reading. You heard the Gospel. It's pretty clear that Christ is the good shepherd. That's something we all would be wise to keep in mind when we depart this life. End of homily."

He blamed his short homily on the heat inside the church. Our air conditioner is under-sized and it was already 100 degrees outside at the start of mass. That made it a stuffy 82 degrees inside, but that hasn't shortened his sermons in the past. Being up in the sancturary as the lector, I saw up close the pain he was in. He was suffering, but when it came time to consecrate the bread and wine, you could see the passion was still there. Here was man not about to come down from the cross, but rather a holy person uniting himself with Christ's suffering. He is a saint.

Later in the day, my wife and I went to our Teams of Our Lady group and shared a meal with three other couples, all saints in their own right. All of these couples had their own Agony in the Garden they were facing with various issues in their respective families; yet all drew on Christ for strength to get through their travails. How extraordinary it seems to me that the closer I get to Christ, the more holy people He seems to place in my life.

People have described me as very religious. My friends at work joke that I am a benevolent, Catholic, Taliban, but my piety is merely mainstream with the circle of friends I have made since returning to the Church. I can not boast of my own conversion as some kind of achievement as my peers continuously humble me with their own faith.

What I can do is celebrate this communion of saints, both those in Heaven and those who grace me with the gift of their lived experience, support, friendship, and fellowship, and unity in Christ in this Catholic faith.


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