Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Missed Mass Today

It was a “this is a most unlikely to happen” circumstance, that did happen. The live-in caregiver was out of town for the weekend, and then the Saturday overnight caregiver called at the last minute: “My car broke down; I won’t be there.” And so at 11:30 on a Saturday night I was at mom’s house frantically calling for someone to substitute for my midnight to 2AM adoration.

Good friends dropped what they were doing and took my place; that’s what good friends do. I’m sure they made excuses for me to God when they got there; He understands these things. Or at least I think He does. Then this morning, with no one here to replace me still, I missed mass. I trust He understood, again.

I feel like I stood up someone for a dinner date, someone I really wanted to see. I called and explained, asked forgiveness --- and was politely forgiven, but still I felt like I let Him down. “Do you love me,” He had once asked of another of His friends. Did He ask it of me this day? How do you know when you have done your best? How do you know if you are doing what He would want? How do you know someone you really care about isn’t silently asking: “Do you love me?” How do you feel, when you want to ask those words of them?

I’ve heard those words spoken aloud often during my life, and even said (or left unsaid) them myself: Do you love me? Words spoken from a spouse to you, or you to your spouse; your child to you, or you to him, or you to your God --- or, perhaps He to you? They are words we feel, as if they were questioning a real concern, but I wonder sometimes if they are merely voicing what we want. We want to love and be loved, like we want to dress nice and be respected. We measure love, often like those things, in terms of material goods. Did you send me flowers or cards? Did you remember our anniversary? Did you buy me the things I believe you should know I want? Measures of love, by which we gauge how much we love, and are loved. But, I think, the real measures of love are more like those more which occurred to me today: Do you miss me?

I love You and wish to be with You, and so I miss you when we cannot be together. A missed meal or meeting isn’t a snub, evidence of a loss of love, but it is something which hurts the loved one who cannot attend. When both feel the hurt, this is love. Talking on the phone (or in prayer) is very good, but it really isn’t a great substitute for being there with each other. That’s why the mass or time in the Church --- ideally at adoration times, is so important. It is the real giving of ourselves, which is evidence of love.

I want spend the time to be with You, and when I am not, I miss You.

But because I believe in Him, I love Him, I want to be with Him, I know that I can always be so. I know Him and how He moves. He is there in each person whom I meet; he said so. I see His picture in their faces; I hear His voice in their words; I hear His sadness at events of the world leading to their sorrows. And I can be with Him there, in them.

I missed mass today, and adoration last night. The intimate time we were to have together didn’t happen. But then there were other things which happened today, gatherings with other people, on the internet, with the caregiver who came back home, and of course with my mom. It wasn’t an intimate gathering of just the two of us, but He was there in those gatherings. And in seeing Him there, I smiled --- and He smiled back.

Until we meet alone again.

As I finished these words, mom called out to me, up from her nap. And as I bent down in front of her and buttoned her dress she looked up at me, staring into my eyes: “You’re a good guy; you’re so good to me. You know I love you.”

Yes, Lord, I know.


  1. Oh, Tom! This is wonderful! You certainly do know the meaning of love and how best to show that love to God by the care you offer to your mother! I don't think God missed you at Mass at all because you were with Him exactly how He wanted you to be with Him in this circumstance and I'm sure that He loves you more than ever for your sacrifice of love. Thank you for writing this!

  2. Anne, we can see Him everywhere, if we look. Tonight I am sitting here on the curving staircase before my front door. And I am seeing Him over and over again in the eyes of the angels that are visiting me tonight.

    And oh how His light shines in their eyes!!

    I'm not blessed with the family that you have, Anne. You can see Him much more often.