Another example of saints and angels walking among us inspired me this week. I often have the privilege of attending daily Mass. Depending on how my day’s schedule looks I can go to a 7:00AM, 8:15 or a Noon Mass here in Mankato and if I happen to be in St. Peter, MN I can hit the 8:00AM. Please know, I do realize how blessed I am to have so many choices. I am always amazed at how each church blends its own flavor with the Mass. Sometimes, it is a kids’ Mass, some Masses have four songs, and the responses all sung, and yet another Mass is simple and pure. Each daily Mass has its daily attendants, its own small faith family. You get to know each other not always well, but enough to notice when someone is missing or not seating in their regular place.
At one of the morning Masses I attend, there is an elderly man who sits in the pew ahead of me. He slowly, deliberately, shuffles in, performs a full genuflect toward the Blessed Sacrament and once in the pew slowly lowers himself to the seat. His prayer book is a small, black book with yellowed pages that shows the fingerprints of years and years of use. A few holy cards stick out from among the pages as he thumbs through the prayers and readings before Mass.
I wonder how he gets out of bed every morning and makes it to Mass no matter the weather when it appears he is enduring chronic aches and pains.
When it is time for Communion, he stands erect and slowly makes the journey to the front to receive his Lord and Savior. His out stretched hands are large. My dad would say, “The hands of a dairy farmer.” It’s his trip back to his pew that makes me ponder. On the walls of this church are the Stations of the Cross, etched into the walls of stone. As he passes by the Third Station of the Cross – Jesus Falls the First Time, he pauses ever so slightly, reaches up and softly, touches Jesus. The first time, I noticed his actions, I mistook them for stumbling and him reaching out to catch himself. When I saw him repeat the same action the next day at Mass, I realized he was purposefully performed this act. Why, I wonder? Are he and Jesus companions, on each their own painful journey, is he showing he’s there ready to support Jesus, is he offering his love and encouragement, what are his thoughts?
I may never know his reasons or thoughts but I do know he inspires me to walk closer to Jesus on his journey to the Cross. I want to grow close enough to get the dust of Jesus’ feet on me.