Saturday, May 10, 2008

Scenes From an Ordination

As grace and early arrival would have it, I happened to grab an aisle seat at this morning's Ordination. Not only that, but my friend ended up next to me when it was time for him and eight other ordinandi to hit the cathedral floor. With very little effort, I could have knelt down to whisper, "May the Lord bless you and keep you." I didn't, of course, opting instead to silently pray this and the rest of Numbers 6:24-26 before joining the ongoing chant.

It may be a while before we discuss what it was like for him to be prostrate for the five minutes it took to chant the Litany of Supplication. Fine by me. I'm still processing the experience of my second ordination. During the rites, I was aware of being distracted by my internal conversation. The abbreviated version went something like this:

Me: "So just because of that scripture passage Catholics think only men should be deacons?"

Me again: "Oh relax, you already get to do most of this stuff without promising to obey the bishop and all his successors."

Me again: "Good Lord, who chose that music?"

Me again: "Oh relax, it's supposed to be prayer not performance."

None of this intrapsychic hoo-hah stopped me from tearing up during the Laying on of Hands, smiling during the Vesting with Stole and Dalmatic, and hearing what the Bishop said while placing the Book of Gospels into the hands of each newly-vested deacon:

Receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
whose herald you have become.
Believe what you read,
teach what you believe, and
practice what you teach.

Me again: "See? This is something we're all called to do."

I know this is true. Still, I remain stuck in a continuous loop of wondering about what the church actually honors as ministry. And eating prodigious amounts of superb food after Mass hasn't made a dent in this deeper hunger.

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