Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Indignation of the Undignified

I went to visit the Lord yesterday down on Connaroe Street at St. Mary of the Assumption's perpetual adoration chapel. I was never fond of St. Mary's...if you asked me I couldn't put a finger on it...but there was a feeling of not belonging there. My feelings were only reinforced after yesterday.

I try to spend my time in adoration reclining, as it is written in Jn 13: "There was reclining on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. " I don't assume a stiff posture, or sit proper. In fact, my position is pretty undignified: I lay on the pew on my side, against the wall, with my head on a pillow, so I can rest with the Lord, and not be worrying about my bodily pains, sore back, etc. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometimes I just lay there gazing on the Lord in his elegant monstrance. I do not worry about being prim and proper before the Lord, because he is my Lord, and he knows me, and knows my ways, and knows I mean no disrespect, but only want to rest, and rest with him.

So I am reclining on my side, relaxing with the Lord, laying my burdens upon him, when after a while a man (I assume he worked for the church or had some official capacity, maybe as the Govenor of the Chapel or something?) comes through the door and approaches me and asks, "Is everything alright here?" And I respond, "yes, I am praying." "Yeah?," he says, and looks at me suspiciously, as one might regard a homeless person who is not breaking any laws but is sleeping somewhere he should not be, and says, "Ok," he says slowly, as if I have been stamped and approved to pray in the manner and position in which I had chosen, "it just seemed...unusual" (referring to my posture).

I was unnerved, and fought to choke down the "how dare he" idignation that comes when one is reprimanded for straying outside the bounds of social norms. There I was minding my business with the Lord, having a conversation and not bothering anyone. But I understood it was unusual. I remembered 2 Samuel, where it is written:
"Then it happened as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart."

And I thought of St. Therese the Little Flower, who often fell asleep in meditation, but said:

"It ought to worry me that I go to sleep during meditation and thanksgiving. Well, I don't worry! I think of how little children are as charming to their parents when they are sleeping as when they are awake. I also think of how doctors put their patients to sleep before operating on them. Lastly I think of how Our Lord sees our weakness and knows that we are but dust."

And what the Gospels say:

"People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'"

I fought indignation when I left shortly thereafter and saw the man sitting in his sleek black Dodge outside the church, blocking the street. I do not like being judged, but then, am I not so quick to judge as well? Of course. Best to forget it; as David said: "Therefore, I will celebrate before the Lord." Besides, as it is written, "Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death." Serves her right.

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