He must increase, I must decrease.
I've been meaning to get in touch with you for a while. Remind me to share with you my epiphany about Christmas and Sex. No, seriously, you'll like it.
But, that's not why I'm here tonight, Blog. I'm here because of...well, I should probably write about God's graces as well, but, my intent was to write on a priest and his actions.
It's good. One never hears anything good about priests, EVER, but, oh my gosh, I can't believe this happened.
Alright, I think I'm going to save God's graces for another day (interestingly enough, the three occurances happened this same day....AND, because of this same priest).
Of course, as with all my writtings, a little (more) exposition: Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, 2011, Fr. Van Der Putten, in his homily, urged all to make the New Year's Resolution to assist at one more Mass per week than one is obligated. He said they offer Masses at 7:00 and 8:00, and surely, people can make time before work to come to one of those Masses, and if not, he will gladly offer a 0600 Mass.
Knowing I live 2 hours away, and work an hour fifteen, one and one-half hours away, I knew that was impossible. ...
There is a Friday evening Mass offered at 1900. If I leave work on time, I could get there, probably by 1800, but, this has never happened. I have gone before, though.
BUT, surely, this urging of the priest, excludes me....I mean, I live two hours away! That's, like, another, like, $80-$90 gas/month. I can do an extra Mass once a month (which, he also mentioned in his homily is not enough), but once a week is just too much.
I was almost on the verge of tears because of this. I KNOW, it is not binding, per say; the priest cannot MAKE us do this in any way....but, it's not for nothing he's saying to do this. BUT, I mean, c'mon, SURELY, ~I~ am the exception, ~I~ get a dispensation from this.
And after wrestling with my conscience:
Conscience: You have somewhere better to be?
Conscience: You have something better to do?
Conscience: You going to put something above Jesus, really? When He's CLEARLY allowing an option for you?
Conscience: You think God wont provide with the money? Of all the things you're going to skimp on, Mass? There's NO where else one can allow for exceptions in one's budget?
Me: ARGGHHH! (sound of my will breaking)
Conscience: :) :D :)
So I was at Mass on Friday (we'll see how long this lasts. I also made NYR to 1. Pray the Rosary everyday, 2. Pray to the Sacred Heart everyday, 3. Pray to St. John the Baptist everyday), and afterwards, while I was still kneeling in prayer, I spoke with Fr. McCambridge walking out the door, who allowed me to stay to pray some more and he could talk to other parishoners. He knew I needed to speak with him (I think I called him and he hadn't responded) and I told him so. He knew.
1. He offered to wait for me.
After a while, I finished and I went out to see him where he was talking with two other men. Kind of on cue, they left.
He and I went inside the small area between the doors that lead outside and the doors that lead to the church part of the church.
2. He made himself avalible to me.
We spoke (more on this later...possibly).
3. He even offered to go WAY out of his way for me.
Anyway, when he was done counseling me, he offered to give me a blessing. ( :D :D :D ) After he gave me a blessing, he asked me where I'm parked and said that it's not the safest neighbourhood so, he offered to walk me to my car. (I half thought this was unnecessary because, well, like, I'm invincible.... I don't know, it's like, nothing has happened before, it's like God is watching out for us who go to Mass there....I don't know...I've never had a problem before...even in the dark (of course, there were other people still there those times.))
I said it's funny he says that because whenever I mention Mass, people always ask me the one 5 minutes away (because I am so blessed to live 5 minutes away from a Catholic Church ( :D )), or the one in Tulsa, because they all know it's the "bad" part of Tulsa. "But, so far so good," or something like that.
He gave me a queer look and said, "Well let's keep it that way."
He opened the doors to the church part of the church, probably knelt in front of the tabernacle, turned off the lights, and knelt again in front of the tabernacle. I was against the door, holding it open all this time.
We step outside, he gets his keys and fumbles with them, checking them in the light to see which key is the one needed to lock the door. As he locks the door, I start walking towards my car. He quickly catches up and walks on my left side, the side between me and the street (though, there is grass and a gate that seperates the small parking lot and the street). I thought that was rather chivalrous and gallant, for lack of better terms.
We make small talk about the weather and such and I get to my car (I notice the car he drove has a pro-life bumper sticker and "Neutrons have Mass?! I didn't even know they were Catholic!" I love puns, but, that is lame.).
I tell him my house is half decorated like Hogwarts from the Harry Potter universe but I tried to keep it not tacky and he laughs. :)
4. He waits for me to get in my car.
5. I then notice, he's behind my car, near his car, watching me, waiting to see if my car will start, I guess.
I then leave, thanking God for him almost the entire way home.
Him walking me to my car is something I cannot get over. This happened on 1/7/11 and here it is, the Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord, 1/13/11, and it still touches me. I think it inspired me to be a better and more selfless Catholic this week. Like I said, I thought it was odd yet chivalrous and gallant at first, but, then I thought about it more and more (how could one not?!) and this is what occured to me (the next day, I think): This priest did the most in persona Christi thing that anybody has ever done for me (to my knowledge), firstly, and secondly, he was very in persona Christi in general.
Did he walk me to my car just to be nice, NO! he walked me to my car, without regard to his safety, nay, he walked to my car with total abandonment for his safety. He could have walked on my other side, his car was on the other side of mine (across from mine, on the other side of the small parking lot), but, he walked on my left side. If something was going to happen to me, he wasn't going to permit it. He was going to be in the way of anything; if something was to befall me, it would target him first. He was RIGHTBY my side, blocking me (as much as a very tall, very lean man could). Whatever may have happened to me that night (I'm still holding I would have been fine....but, I'm not going to say no to a priest who wants to walk me to my car), Father McCambridge was going to ...sacrifice... himself so that I would be okay.
I mean, yes, it's grand that he has given me absolution and the Eucharist, more so than I know, but, this was ...practical. This was...real. This was tangible. This is, like, really, the message of the Gospel. This is the graces that absolution and the Eucharist bestow so that one can die to self and live for Christ.
THEN, it occurs to me days later, NOT ONLY did he act in persona Christi, he was very much acting as my Father. He was going to protect his child at all costs. He was going to make sure she wasn't left stranded, either. I mean, if I was going to die that night, THEN would have been the perfect time, I had received the Eucharist AND gotten a blessing from a priest. My soul was good to go, but, no, Father McCambridge was going to protect and defend my body that night.
I think he may have even followed me part of the way home (I'm pretty sure I noticed his car going up one off-ramp while mine went down another), but, that may have been coincidence.
He went way out of his way for me. WAY out. Not only physically, but, the things he offered to do for me, should the need arise. No regard for himself (or, at least, that's how it seems to me).
And the thing is, it wasn't personal; he would do the same for any of his children or any of God's children.
Father McCambridge was in the Marines. I don't know if he was a Marine or a chaplin for them, but, it wouldn't surprise me if he was trained to fight for his country, just because he is so fit and orderly and seemingly disciplined.
He defended one of this Country's daughters, and, for that, by this post, I salute him.
Thank you, Father McCambridge. You are in my prayers.
Thank you, Holy Trinity, one God, for creating this man,
Thank you Holy Trinity, one God, for calling him to the priesthood,
Thank you Holy Trinity, one God, for sending him to Tulsa,
Thank you Jesus for giving him Your Sacred Heart.
Thank you Jesus for giving him Your Sacred Heart to give to others.