I was asked several years ago by an employee why I go to mass every week. My response was that it was a way to undo all the worries and trials of the previous week and start the new week fresh. That has always been true and still is. However, this week was a little different.
First of all, for the past eight months, our church has been the recipient of some pretty negative press. A former leader got into some legal trouble and because he used to work here, we have been the focus of a lot of the media attention that surrounded and exacerbated the whole thing.
Secondly, our church was remodeled ten years ago and we have had an enormous amount of debt plaguing us ever since.
Both of these instances have been central in my prayers and Mass offerings for so long it has become more than a prayer, but a habit to mention both.
My Masses have been offered for the peaceful and complete end to both of these situations. I felt like the needy child begging her Father for permission to do something that she really, really wanted. Mass was almost exhausting because of the intensity of asking/praying. I have mentioned before how I try to be like Abraham in his faith. He was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, because of how much trust and faith he had in God. I named both of these instances “Isaac”, and have offered them to God in faith, knowing and trusting that He will make everything right, and just.
“Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.”
-GN 15: 6
Last Friday, that trust and faith was proven. The legal stuff with the former leader has ended, there should be no more (or a miniscule amount) focus on that unpleasantness. Also, because of the wonderful folks who have donated regularly, as well as a few who have remembered us as part of their legacy, we were able to pay off our debt. The culmination of both of these things has taken a huge weight off my shoulders and has given me such a sense of closure that I am quite beside myself with gratitude.
When I attended Mass on Saturday evening, it was offered for a singular intention – Thanksgiving. It has been such a long time since I have offered a Mass solely in Thanksgiving of the gifts I’ve received. I forgot the joy that can come from that. Each word of every prayer had new meaning. I had a completely joyful experience that was so opposite of the recent experiences where I had to just leave my “Isaacs” on the altar trusting God.
I think the entire community felt the same way. After Mass, there were people congratulating our Pastor on paying off our debt and expressing their excitement of being without that obligation. It was all celebration and thanksgiving. I can hardly wait to go to Mass again!! Thanks be to God!!