St. Martin De Tours, Day 1
February 24, 2013 § Leave a comment
In September of 2011, I was still working fulltime at a non-profit agency and made a commitment to pray over my lunch hour for thirty days since there were many petitions I couldn’t keep straight in my mind and I felt overwhelmed emotionally and depleted spiritually.
I had been praying everyday before lunch in the bathrooms at work. I prayed for people I loved, for the baby I wanted, for the frustration, boredom and despair I felt at work – hopes and dreams – for strength and courage – for deliverance into a purpose I could wrap my whole heart around.
I knew of a church on the corner of Gray Street in Louisville called Saint Martin of Tours – a Catholic church, although I’m not Catholic – that had the inscription, “Our doors are never closed” etched into a plaque on the front of the building. I loved that. I felt comforted knowing that there was a place people could go to pray at anytime day or night. I know that God hears me no matter where I am when I pray, but I needed to go through a motion – like the many rituals performed in a Catholic church, I needed to get into my car, start the engine, drive to the church, walk through the doors and kneel – I needed to separate myself from the world for a time in a tangible way in order to concentrate, to complain, to weep without having to explain myself to anyone else.
On day one around noon, I walked through the side door of the church since the front entrance was being repaired and found several people sitting in the pews to partake in Holy Communion. I did not expect to have any earthly company or to hear a Priest or organ or share in communion. But I stuck around, intrigued by the way my Catholic brothers and sisters worshiped.
The Priest’s voice echoed inaudibly from the high ornate archways above our heads. Religious relics and saintly statues surrounded the pews, perched on elaborately carved wooden shelves and pedestals. A haunting portrait of an artist’s rendition of Christ hung above rows of candles, which were lit and flickering in glass votives. I felt religious being there.
I made myself an observer – I didn’t know the script – the times to stand and sit, the responses to prayers made by the Priest. But I stood when he lifted the cup and the bread.
After the Priest blessed all the components of Communion – the wine, the bread and even the dishes they were in, he poured the wine into two gold chalices. I thought maybe that was just part of the formality, any minute we’d see the little plastic shot cups for individual sharing like we had in the Methodist church I remember growing up, but no such thing was brought out from under the table.
All stood and fell in line – one by one receiving the bread – some wanted it placed on their tongue, others held their hands up and had the Priest place the bread in their palm. They walked then to the left or the right to drink from the gold cups.
I take the bread – chewy stale – I go to the lady with the cup. I take the cup and see that just a drop or two was left and knew that only a portion of it was actual wine. I lift the cup as if to drink but I only mocked the gesture.
Afterwards, the Priest blessed us all and the organ sounded and all the people began to usher out. I stayed – only one other quiet soul several pews ahead. Finally, stillness. A time to pray my own prayers.
I prayed for Myke, realizing that his belief in God would truly be a miracle of Biblical proportion. It occurred to me that he may never believe.
Why pray then? Because I love him. Plain and simple. Not for gain or by command, I just love him.
I remembered a sermon I heard on the radio one morning on my way to work. The preacher told about how the Apostle Paul, overflowing with worship when he wrote in Romans, “Oh! The depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God” in response to what God has said, “I love because I love.”
I pray for Myke because I love Myke, regardless of the outcome.