A day and a night later, I am beginning to grasp the shape of my resistance.
The more I gaze outward toward the world’s need where it should have been all along, the more the longing rises up in me to enact what Jesus commanded us to do in his memory: to receive the gifts of the community and their lives, to speak with my own voice the words of blessing, take bread and wine into my own hands, call the Spirit upon them and the whole world for its healing and life, and invite the community to communion and mission.
My desire is utterly audacious, even foolish. Not least because it calls me to conform my life to this action done in Jesus’ name. I’ve suppressed that almost physical longing for years and immersed myself in (worthy and necessary) work around the edges, rather like the would-be trapeze artist who cleans up behind the elephants so she can be part of the circus.
The liturgy of the world and the liturgy of the Eucharist are profoundly linked, a connection I literally want to embody with and for the community. What I really fear is the grief of having to unlink them as I seek some meaning I can live with. Hence the covers over my head. (Yes, I get the priesthood of believers implicit in my baptismal call.) In my grief is the grief of every other woman called to this service. I carry that too. It’s part of the coalescence of the world’s pain.
As I’ve learned to do with other grief, I will lean into it and somehow find surrender and grace. I may take to offering the Eucharistic Prayer at the altar of my dining room table while holding the world assembled in my heart and on the evening news. I will explore house church. I will be pastoral wherever and however I can and learn to recognize it for the special ministry that it is.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess.
You have given all to me. Now I return it. All is yours now.
Dispose of it wholly according to your will.
Give me only your love and your grace, that’s enough for me.
In some of my more trying times, Father Frank used to say that when we leave this earth, we will each take with us some pressing question to pose to our God. Perhaps more than one. I have mine. I will ask it. (I’m willing to wait to do that.) Undoubtedly the answer will surprise me.