I am not sure if this is the right place for this, but seems a good enough place.
I am back from Easter Vigil. I love the Easter Vigil, so rich and beautiful and vibrant. But, I have been thinking for the last few days about the absolutely most beautiful mass I ever attended, it filled me with awe and gave me chills and it was performed in a bedroom by a frail priest. :-)
My uncle was a diocesan priest for the Archdiocese of OKC. After serving in parishes in Enid, Durant, Midwest City and Oklahoma City, heart surgery put him into semi-retirement, when he had recovered sufficiently, he was sent to be the Chaplain at Mercy Health Center, at first he was the assistant chaplain and later the chaplain. He was also the Chaplain at Remington Park -- and said Mass for the horse owners, jockey's stable hands and employees in a chapel there. But, his declining health finally forced his full retirment. Diabetes had stolen the feeling from his legs etc. But, he said Mass every day at home, occasionally someone else would be there as well. One morning I had an early morning doctor's appointment and was without kiddos, so after the appointment I went by my uncle's. He told me he was just about to start Mass, so I followed him to his bed room and sat in the corner. He had set up his traveling altar cloth and vessels on the dresser. Because the altar was set up on the dresser he had his back to me. It was one of the most amazing encounters of my life, the entire feeling in the room changed. I felt as if I was being allowed to witness an exquisitely intimate interaction between my uncle and God whom he had served so faithfully. I watched my uncle struggle with his frail body to genuflect, but no matter how difficult he managed every posture, so reverent, so personal, so beautiful. I got chills sitting there and came to a realization about just how deep my uncle's faith truly was. I had seen him say Mass hundreds of times, but this Mass was the most beautiful experience I have ever had. Makes me weep to think of it.
The last five or six weeks of his life were spent at my mother's house, and my husband, my children and I moved in to take care of him. I had been taking care of him at his home prior to this. It was just at the start of Advent when he came home and we knew it was at the end. They had missed the health problem assuming it was lung related for too long, when in reality he had needed an additional pacemaker, but was too weak to undergo the procedure now. He had told God several times for the year or two before that he was ready to go home whenever He willed it. But, as he came home, he told me that he was still ready but he had asked God to allow us to make it through Christmas, so that his death would not mar the holidays for the family for the future, especially the little ones. We had a beautiful Christmas. He collapsed the night before the Feast of the Epiphany and passed away the next morning on the Feast of the Epiphany the final day of Christmas. His funeral mass was also very beautiful, the church was filled with people from all of his previous parishes and the hospital and his friends and the priests close to forty priests I think were there, their voices so deep and male and strong singing out. In the homily, Fr. Joe Ross who had been assigned to my uncle as an associate for his first assigment, spoke about my uncle and his ministry and finished it by noting it was fitting that this good and faithful servant would go home on the Epiphany.
I am forever grateful for my uncle, the Mass and most especially for that Mass that day, watching my uncle in true intimate communion with Our Lord.
What Mass filled you with a sense of awe and wonder?