On Not Going to Mass for a While To my friends in the parish: After this newsletter I’m going back to my every other week schedule—this is my third newsletter in three weeks—but I wanted to let you know that I’ve decided not to go to mass or serve at mass for the new few months. I’m not retiring from being deacon. I’ll be back. I’ve talked this over with Father Matias and he supports me completely. I’ve just gotten more and more concerned about my risk of exposure to the virus and the effects this could have on my soon-to-be-born grandchild, due in October, and Barb’s frail and aging parents, who also live close by. Even if the risk is small, I don’t want to endanger my family. The archbishop made provision for this from the beginning when he gave us a general dispensation from our Sunday obligation and encouraged us to stay home if we thought we should. I guess I just assumed that this didn’t apply to me as a deacon, but now that the summer is over and the infection rate hasn’t leveled off, and winter is coming, when the experts expect the situation to get worse, I realize I need to join those of you who are already staying away. It will be a chance for me, too, to experience more deeply what the Church has always called “spiritual communion,” the idea that if we are unable to come to mass but sincerely desire it, we will receive the spiritual benefits of the Eucharist—an idea even more powerful when you consider the fact that the mass is being celebrated somewhere on this planet every minute of every day. Every second, somewhere in the world. It’s never not being celebrated. “The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” Gerard Manley Hopkins said. Or I think of this beautiful and famous passage from Augustine’s Confessions, celebrated in Abbot Jeremy’s recent video in his series from Mount Angel:Late it was I loved you, beauty so ancient and so new, late I loved you! And look, you were within me and I was outside . . . you were with me, and I was not with you!
The Lord is with us in our everyday lives. Everything that happens to us speaks of him. This is Augustine’s central insight, as it is St. Paul’s: “it’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” This is our faith. This is who we are. “I will be with you always,” Jesus says at the end of the Gospel of Matthew, “even unto the end of time. In the meantime I’ll continue doing the online ministries I’ve already been doing, including this newsletter, and I’m glad to talk or correspond with you if you ever want to talk or correspond with me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I very much look forward to the time when we can all gather together again, in our bodies, with our actual faces. All is well and all shall be well. Peace to you in Our Lord Jesus Christ. Chris
was last modified: September 9th, 2020 by deaconcanderson