Thursday, July 4, 2013


Ever have those moments where you're the stand alone odd-ball?  I have them more often than I care to recall.  I guess it goes with the territory of being me.  Today I got treated to one of those moments early in the day.

After Mass two days a week our parish has two devotions that I'd say fall under the "optional" heading.  On Wednesday it's the Miraculous Medal novena and on Thursday it's the Litany of St. John Neumann.      On both of these days I leave the church right after we pray the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.  Ordinarily there's a handful of people who are also leaving when I leave so I don't feel awkward leaving.  Today, however, was different.  Somehow, at a daily Mass that was pretty well attended, I managed to be the lone person who opted to get up and leave.  Awwwwkwwaaaarrrd!  Nothing makes you second guess your practice of opting out of the optional quite like this!

Here's the thing, as a convert to Catholicism there are some things that just don't resonate with me the way that other things do.  Take the rosary for example.  I'm all for it.  I love it and it's one of the aspects of Catholicism that really drew me in like a tractor beam.  Novenas....not so much.  I honestly think I lack the attention span for them.  As much as I've tried to get into some different novenas they just don't click with me the way they seem to with others.  I suppose that's one of the awesome things about Catholicism.  There are so many different optional devotions from which you can pick and choose.  It's like a buffet of spirituality.

As I think about this morning's awkwardness I wonder if there was another aspect involved in everyone but me staying.  There was a relic of St. John Neumann on the altar.  Can you guess where I'm going with this?  Relics.  Yeah, you could say that I don't quite get relics either.  Actually, they really weird me out....particularly the ones that are body parts (1st class relics).  Want to make me uncomfortable?  Introduce me to the bone fragment, fingernail clippings or scab of a saint.  My thoughts don't run to the awestruck "This was a part of St. _________!"  No, instead my thoughts are more along the lines of "Why did someone save his scab?  Who does that?" or "Did they purposely dig up St._________ and hack off bits and pieces of his bones to distribute as relics?"  I'm ok with 2nd and 3rd class relics since they don't have that element of being macabre.  I should note that 1st class relics that are say in an altar stone don't bother me, it's more or less relics that are on display that make me uncomfortable.

So there you have it.  Put two devotional aspects together that just don't resonate well with me and you have the perfect formula for an induced bout of awkwardness.

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