Sunday, May 10, 2020
Martha, Mary, and online Mass
Today being Sunday I got the trusty tablet and I heard Mass from St. John Cantius in Chicago. Remember, that was the church I went to that time where they gave me a holy card in the confessional.
I tuned in to this Mass last week and I liked it. It is live at 9:30 Chicago time, 8:30 Buffalo time. It is a Low Mass. There is a High Mass but it is something like noon, and that gives other things time to get in the way. One of these Sundays I will try the High Mass but today was not that day.
Instead I parked myself at the dining room table with the tablet. The Wi-Fi is good in there.
Everyone tells you to watch Mass online but it is easier said than done. Do you stand when you are supposed to? Do you kneel? How do you behave? I have decided the best thing to do is sit with my missal and I follow along. St. John Cantius is a huge and gorgeous church, rather like our dear departed St. Gerard's. I found myself just enjoying the pleasure of it all. It is actually a luxury to be able to follow along so carefully. At our usual in-person Mass I am so distracted by coffee hour and choir it is hard to think.
After all these years of being a Martha...
... I am turning into a Mary!
Mary is the one in the center of the picture at the top of this post. With her prayer book before her, like me. I love the details and humor in the picture. The elaborate buffet in the foreground. The people eating in the other room. The birdcage! Of course there is a birdcage!
It's sweet how the artist captures St. Martha complaining about doing all the work and St. Mary just sitting there piously, having chosen the better portion. I always did have sympathy with Martha. Someone has to do the work. Also you have to remember that Martha is a great saint, as is Mary, and there is a high place in heaven for them both.
I did a little digging and the artist is a Renaissance German master, Georg Friedrich Stettner. I should have guessed German. We Germans, we love our food. And everyone in the picture looks German. I mean look at Mary, with her blond hair. I love the palette, the muted tones contrasting with that beautiful rich red. Nice work, Herr Stettner! Terrific job.
Back to my Low Mass. I am sitting there and Howard comes in to feed Jeoffry.
"Don't pay any attention to me," he said, getting on with his work.
So it was funny, all there was, was this silence. A Low Mass is quiet! There was nothing but silence and whispering and occasionally the tinkling of a bell. Once in a while a floorboard groaned.
Howard said, "I like the sound of this."
I did, too!
I can tell you what the Gospel was about. Go on, ask me. I know what the Secret Prayer was. I knew that it was the Fourth Sunday of Easter, alleluia, alleluia.
I miss being at actual Mass, that goes without saying. The situation can make me terribly uneasy when I think about it because I have not seen the like in my lifetime and I pray that when this is all over I never shall again.
But you cannot and should not ignore the blessings that are there!