Religion drives me crazy. I rarely go to Mass or attend religious services. I usually have my heart broken a bit whenever I do. I’m a sucker for lines like, “Come and sit at my table where saints and sinners are friends. O, come, and eat without money.”
The one that really gets me is, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
If only we could live what we preach.
But I haven’t given up. And I don’t think most of us have. We still have faith that one day we’ll be better. I know the people at St. Anthony’s believe that. That’s why they laid on their hands, gave their blessing, and said, “Yes!”
The average member of St. Anthony’s must be pushing seventy. They’re an interesting bunch, including former nuns, former priests, and former priests married to former nuns.
If it’s sounds racy, it’s not. These are committed, loving, long-lasting, exemplary bondings in the name of holy matrimony. They just happen to be between former priests and former nuns who found love for another human being to be a sacred calling to which they had to respond, and they responded, “Yes”, rather than, “No”.
After 15 years Father Leo, now frail and aging, left St. Anthony's Catholic Church, and no priest was coming to take his place.
“Take care of this community,” Father Leo admonished the former priests. He gave them his blessing and left.
So, on a hot September Sunday, the members of St. Anthony’s and guests, like Lisa and I, walked to the front of the church where three men sat. One-by-one we laid our hands on their heads and gave them our blessings, and said, “Yes”, without the official sanction of the Bishop or any authority other than ourselves.
We said, “Yes”, to community, “Yes”, to faith, “Yes”, to possibility. “Yes”, to life.
How about you?
Where have you been withholding your blessing? Where is it time you laid your hands, and, as the poet Rumi suggests, said, “Yes”, quickly, as if you have known it since before the universe began?