Gonzaga basketball had occupied our morning, and our loss to number-one-ranked Syracuse proved to be the herald of a bad day--a very bad day. We watched C-SPAN the rest of the afternoon. Images of a smug Louise Slaughter, a pleading Paul Ryan and a rather comical Jesse Jackson Jr. (filling in for Speaker Pelosi) are still burned on my retina.
Then it was off to 7 p.m. Mass, knowing full well that during the hour or so that we'd participating in the Lamb's Supper, another kind of feast would be happening in the House of Representatives: the feasting of liberal interests on one-sixth of the American economy.
It's been said, over and over, how bad this bill will be for our country. For months now, we've read the analysis, the commentary, the conclusions of just how bad this will be. It's been grueling. And it's hardly over.
Realizing this afternoon that Stupak would cave (after what he says his family has been through, I'm not sure I can blame him), that Pelosi had the votes and that the largest expansion of government-funded abortions since 1973 was at our country's doorstep, I was in lockstep with the deadly sin of despair. Our taxes will rise. Our increased taxes will fund abortions--save me the comedy of any "executive order" precluding that. Our private decisions regarding health care will be made for us, by a government that can't even manage a car subsidy program without going bankrupt.
Oh, woe are we.
I sat in Mass. And just before standing to join the communion line, I realized something. It's the same thing I realize every time I discipline my mind in Mass instead of letting it freely meander. It's what I realize each time I focus on the altar, not on my ego.
I realized: Jesus is here.
Present. Incarnate. Holy.
Living. True. Salvation.
Christ. Now. Forever!
Before me--just yards away. I realize that, and I cry. Because I know I am utterly unworthy to receive Him.
Cardinal Arinze, speaking about the Eucharist, once said: "If you believe that Christ is God and He is present [at the Eucharist], why don't you kneel? Why don't you crawl?"
And if we really knew what is given to us at each and every Mass, we wouldn't enter with our heads full of despair over healthcare and our futures. We wouldn't be wondering what Mass John Stockton usually attends with his family (as they just happened to sit two rows in front of us tonight), what he does with his days and if he watched the game this morning. We wouldn't turn our heads with each little wail and giggle from a toddler across the aisle. And we wouldn't--I wouldn't--despair about a truly henious turn of events in our country.
If only I would realize it a little bit sooner than the communion hymn.