Monday, September 27, 2010

Faith is Precious

So this weekend I had an Ah-Ha Moment. If you aren't familiar with my terminology, I suggest you read the post that I put the link up for.

My Ah-Ha! moment came during Communion, only now I'm pretty sure it had been building up throughout Mass on Saturday. You see, it wasn't the "ordinary" Mass that I usually know, where the music is Mass of Creation style and everything is in English.

This Saturday, Chaldean Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim came to Knoxville to meet with Bishop Stika and to celebrate a Chaldean Mass for the many Chaldean Catholics in the area. I was very interested in going, but I was also hesitant. For some reason, I had this idea that it was a members-only type deal. Luckily my friend let me know that it wasn't and, "absolutely you should come. Mass starts at 12."

I braved horrific game day traffic and almost getting boxed in at a gas station on campus to make the 5ish mile drive to the cathedral. That was an ordeal. I mean really, what business thinks it's okay to let people PARK in front of gas pumps for the duration of the game? Yes, you do make money from people who pay to park there, but don't you lose more money from patrons like me who actually need to get gas? Just a thought...jerks. And to think, I might not have had my ah-ha moment if I got stuck at the gas station! Sorry, rant over.

I got to the cathedral 20 minutes early, so I enjoyed a bit of silent prayer alone in the pew. Then out came the bishops, a priest who came with Bishop Ibrahim, and one other guy. Mass was for the most part, entirely in Arabic. And I absolutely loved it. It was due to many reasons. One part may be because I was excited to finally hear Arabic, because other than a few songs from movies with Arabic vocals, I've never heard it otherwise. I like the way it sounds, especially sung. This Mass had a lot of singing! Another part results from my love of sometimes just not understanding anything that's being said. Weird, I know. When you're immersed in another language, it's very humbling and for some reason it makes things clearer and more beautiful for me. You know what it feels like to be on the other end of the spectrum, which is not being able to understand what people are saying to you.

I think though, ultimately, that the reason I enjoyed Chaldean Mass so much is that I learned something so essential for living. During his brief English summation of his homily, Bishop Ibrahim said that "faith is precious." In reference to many Iraqi immigrants, it is often the only thing they may have with them when arriving to a new place. It's true for all immigrants really.

I kept chewing on that phrase, "faith is precious." I never really thought of faith being precious before. I always considered it something to have, something that I needed but even then it still felt like I didn't actually, physically need it.

When it came time for Communion, I kept soaking in the whole experience of revelation and excitement of something different. When I kneeled, folded my hands, and then closed my eyes to pray, it finally hit me. Tears welled up at the wonderful realization that yes, the only thing that I truly have is faith. The only thing that I truly need is faith. Everything else is just material, and it won't be with me forever. Those things won't sustain me the way God can.

If nothing else, I have faith. And I feel blessed knowing that. I will always have God and a Savior who won't forsake me even when I fail and the Eucharist and a community where no matter what language we speak or what country we are from, we love Jesus all the same.

I prayed often and will continue to pray for more Ah-Ha Moments. I'm not a very patient person, God and everyone else knows that. I'm just beyond happy that I finally had one. There's nothing quite like that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

I came home from Mass to find this as the reflection for the day. How cool is God, I mean, really? It totally fits with my Ah-Ha Moment lesson.

"May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith." -Ephesians 3:17

"Bear Christ in heart, mind, and will. Bear Him in your mind by His teaching. Bear Him in your will by your observance of the Law. Bear Him in your heart by the Holy Eucharist." -Pope Pius XII

1 comment:

Mary said...

That is so incredibly awesome. I've wanted to attend Mass that is said in another language, but have held back for the same reason you had hesitations. Awesome.