John finally woke up around 6:30 and took Vince downstairs so I could sleep a bit. Thankful, I immediately fell back to sleep and didn't wake up again until 9:50 - ten minutes before the last Mass at my parish.
John must've noticed that, too, 'cause he shouted up almost instantly, "Gina? Don't you gotta go to Mass or something?"
*Smile* I actually grinned when he said that.
I shouted back down that it was OK, I'd just go to a later Mass in Philly since there was no way I'd get ready in time for the 10.
See, I'd originally wanted to go to Incarnation's Mass, but it simply wasn't in the cards. Instead, I decided to go to St. William's - another parish affected by the closings. They're the only Church I know of in my area that does a Sunday night Mass.
John asked me how far away St. William's was. I said, "About 45 minutes." He replied with, "Seriously? You're gonna travel 45 minutes for Mass? I think God'll forgive you for missing."
I shook my head. It's not about God forgiving me for missing. It's about me wanting to go and being fully able to. I said that. I said, "John, I WANT to go." He just snorted again, obviously confused as to why I'd ever wanna do something boring like go to Mass.
A few hours later, while the football games were well under-way, our cousin went through the same spiel. I think John brought it up again just to needle me with backup, but I didn't mind. I understand their views and accept that they simply don't understand mine. So when our cousin said, "God goes to bed early on Sundays" in an attempt to poke fun at my desire to attend a later Mass, I responded with the same level of ridiculousness.
On my way home from Mass, though, I realized that I honestly, truly do love attending Mass. It's not like that's news to me. However, that SHOULD'VE been my response to my cousin. While sarcasm and funny quips are what come naturally to me in those circumstances, I'd probably get further expressing myself on terms they'd be familiar with.
How often do both he and John travel well over 45 minutes just to get a "Fat Sandwich" from a truck outside Rutgers? How many times have they crossed state lines simply to attend a wrestling match or a sports game? They've traveled much more (and for much less) than I have. Yet because they place more value on things like food and entertainment, I am the one who must be out of my mind.
Ha ha. The mindset of the atheist. Gotta appreciate the irony.
I harbor no resentment for being teased in this manner. Neither one of them is attempting to hurt my feelings. Sure they wanna poke fun at the religious chick who is obviously out of her mind sometimes for believing in God, the tooth fairy and unicorns, but I take it in stride. They don't know any better, and I can't fault them for that. I've been blessed to know God. I've been blessed to feel His Love and to know His Mother. That doesn't make me better or worse than these two. That's something I've come to learn these last few months. This love I have - this peace I have regarding religion and God - it is a gift.
I never really understood that. I always thought, "It's because I've logically thought everything out. It makes sense to me, so I believe it. It doesn't make sense to others because they're either not smart enough, or not willing enough to attempt learning."
How foolish of me. My spiritual progression has nothing much to do with me at all. This love for Christ and this love for the Blessed Mother has ALWAYS been within me. It's never something I've had to work for. It's never something I've questioned. For me to think I somehow arrived at that intrinsic love logically is ridiculous. I realize now it was gifted to me.
My spiritual director - for YEARS - told me that inner certainty of love and peace was a gift. I always kinda nodded, hearing what she said but not understanding it fully. Now I understand. And I am truly grateful for such a gift. Each night, when I put Vince to bed, I ask Our Lady to pray for that same love for Vincent. I ask God to grant Vince the same sense of love and knowledge of Him that I have - even stronger.
Oh if only all people could open their hearts to Him. How happy we all could be in knowing His Love! :)
So yes, I am more than happy to go to Mass. I'd be more than happy to travel 45 minutes or more for the chance to be present at our most prized Sacrifice of Love.