I had a couple of hours of driving time in my car today so I filled it with one of my favorite activities – listening to podcasts. Today’s podcast was by The Catholic Current and titled, “Sunday Mass at Saint Typical’s.” As you can imagine, the name Saint Typical caught my attention. It was of special interest to me as one striving to Live Not Ordinary or to at least striving to find out what it means to Live Not Ordinary.
I subscribe to The Catholic Current but am not sure I’d ever listened to more than one episode before. Today, the podcast started playing simply because it followed another podcast I do regularly listen to. All I can say is there is no such thing as coincidence. This podcast made me think. I love things that make me THINK!
Father McTeigue began talking and his “Saint Typical” immediately caught my attention. I figured Saint Typical’s Church would be pretty much the same as Saint Ordinary’s Church. Neither had a good ring to them. Neither sounded like a Church I wanted to belong to. Neither sounded like a Church I wanted to invite others to. Neither sounded like a Church I wanted to trust my soul to.
Father explained the Mass from a broken hearted priest’s perspective. He began categorizing church goers according to the Mass they attended. He spoke of those who demanded a 3:00 Saturday “Vigil” Mass so they could go out for cocktails and evening fun. He spoke of early Sunday morning Mass goers as those who went in the same spirit of those who went to later Saturday evening Masses. These went to get Mass over with. He had a label for every one of them. I drove listening and thinking how unfair his labels were, but if I want to Live Not Ordinary, I have to be open to truth and other people’s perspectives.
It’s not so much that I prayed for this in the moment. The time to prepare for a firefight is not in the midst of the fight. I think the same is true for moments like this when our souls are shown two possible paths and we can choose either one. We don’t often realize there is a choice. We just allow ourselves to skip freely down the path of what “feels” good without stopping to think about what IS good.
My conscious decision to listen with an open mind did not kick in, but my subconscious mind did. I’d been purposely training and searching for ways to see things from other’s perspectives for years now. I have also been asking the Lord, especially the Holy Ghost who I just love so much, my Mary, and my Angel to help me spin things and see them from other angles and show me what I need to know, teach me what I need to hear, change me in ways I need to change.
As I listened I realized I had not only attended Saint Typical’s, I had been one of its most typical parishioners. What’s worse, I can’t tell you this is all in the past. As I say I want to Live Not Ordinary, I very much promote the Church of Saint Typical to myself and to my children and then I wonder why they and so many others leave our faith.
I had to admit that just that morning I’d asked my 13 year old if he’d like to go to Mass Saturday because we run all the time and I wanted Sunday to be one day where we didn’t have to rush out of the house in the morning. I was a go-to-Mass-to-get-it-over-with kinda woman more than I wanted to admit to. Of course, I’d put it more nicely, but if I were honest, there was more of that thought in there than there should have been when you consider what happens at Mass and how the priest re-enacts the last supper and the Sacrifice of Jesus each time offering the faithful His Body and Blood.
That get it over with thought was just today. Father went on to talk of the attire people wear to Mass. While I never wore a Metallica t-shirt to Mass, I can’t say I always dressed like I was going to meet the King either. Even now, I do try to dress better, but there are days I’m just too tired to put the effort in when I dress nicely for work all week – ouch! How typical am I???
Father went on about the music. I assumed people had their personal preferences but that we could listen to any kind of faith-based music in Mass. I assumed it depended on the priest or those running the Mass (I’m cringing over that last part too! Shouldn’t it be the priest who runs the Mass? Ugh! So typical of me!!!) I knew Gregorian Chant was the norm at one time, but didn’t (and still don’t completely) understand the whole power of Gregorian Chant and why it is the music we are supposed to hear at Mass. I’ll go back and read this article as a start and look more into this later, but I can’t help but think it is true and I have been doing what sounded good over what is good (like everyone else) all this time! How typical of me!
I’ve gotten better about some of what he mentioned. For example, I am a big believer in the need for silence in our overstuffed lives. Silence is where God speaks to us. Silence is where peace is found. Silence gives us the power to charge headlong into another life ambush and still come out faithful and smiling.
But even in silent prayer and meditation, my mind still wanders to what I want to think about and my plans rather than what is Good! How typical!
I can pat my back for the reverence with which I receive the Eucharist. I genuflect as the person in front of me receives. Then I receive on my tongue, having decided a few years ago, thrusting my hands out in a GIVE ME motion was just too inappropriate and I needed to do something uncomfortable to receive my Lord and Savior.
But even in receiving the Very Body of Christ, how many times has my mind wandered or have I been sidetracked by a friend on her trip back to the pew after having received ahead of me or by the cute baby waving in the aisle or by the cute guy I wished would wave to me after Mass? To many typicals to count!
I could go on, but you get the idea. I drove listening to this heart broken, weary priest. I did not get my hackles up ready to defend my Saturday evening Mass attendance. Instead I listened and realized how typical, and unsaintly, I am. I realized how saddened our good priests are by our ignorance and lack of thirst for more. I realized how I needed to pray more for Father McTeigue, our priests, and Church united in the Trinity.
The only Not Ordinary path when confronted with my own sinfulness was to stop by a Church for Confession on my way home.
And that’s what I did.
I’m not proud of all my typicals or of how I’ve helped build the church of saint typical, but I know, thanks be to God, I don’t have to stay typical. His Grace gives me the power to Live Not Ordinary. His forgiveness allows me to strive to become what is most Not Ordinary of all yet what we, every last ordinary one of us, is called to be, A Catholic Saint.
Maybe I am starting to figure out what it means to Live Not Ordinary after all…
God Bless You & God Bless America…
Gratitude Journal 4/22/23 – Thank you Lord for…
- Father McTeigue’s podcast on Sunday Mass at Saint Typical’s.
- His pointing out the Church or Saint Typical
- Helping me see my role in the church.
- Helping me see how my actions helped influence my children.
- The power of Confession and the priests who make this available.
- The hope for forgiveness for myself and my boys and family too.
- Z being home with us tonight.
- Talking to friends at the game today.
- Z getting chipotle.
- D’s emailed response to me and her health and blessing.
- Not going to the Saturday evening Mass and making plans to head to Mass early for some much needed silence tomorrow morning.