This is what a monstrance looks like.
I realize that I have not written since February. That is a very long time, I know. I have been crazy busy, though I always manage to forget about these sort of things. I know that is no excuse, but hey, I am just being honest. Anyway, we are halfway through summer and let me tell you, the summer has been BRUTAL! It has been hot and very humid, and we have had a lot of rain. On top of that, I have had two upper repertory infections. It’s crazy!
Okay, so I have been walking down a spiritual path lately and have been trying to get more in touch with God. My father and I recently joined our church’s prayer group, and we learned of the upcoming healing mass. It was listed in the church bulletin as well. I had never been to a healing mass, so I was very interested in attending. Here is a little background about myself: I was raised Roman Catholic, but unfortunately didn’t have much appreciation for my religious education and didn’t become more serious about my faith until I began preparing for my Confirmation. Then, years later, I kind of drifted a bit and felt a bit of distance between God and me. Now, I am trying to get back to where I was years ago at Confirmation. I know people get a good chuckle when I tell them that one of my life goals is getting to heaven, but it is true. I honestly believe in God and that there is a hereafter. However, this specific topic can be discussed further on another post as I can go on at lengths about my own spiritual experiences.
Anyway, I thought I would share one of my most powerful spiritual experiences. On Monday, July 8th at 7:30pm, I attended my first healing mass held at my parish, Holy Rosary Church, in Hawthorne, NY. Okay, first off the mass was a bit different than I thought it would be. I thought each individual would be prayed over, but instead they did a benediction in which the priest used a monstrance. The monstrance is a large, golden vessel that houses a consecrated host. Out of respect, the priest doesn’t hold it with his bare hands, but rather a cloth. When the priest holds it in front of you, it is like you are speaking directly with God.
The benediction happened toward the very end of mass. After communion, my father, who attended the mass with me, left me in the pew because he was asked to be a catcher for those who fell due to resting in the spirit. Often times people become so overcome and relaxed that they will fall back. There is a person who stands behind them to catch them. So I am sitting in the pew feeling clueless of when I am to go up and what I am supposed to do. My father had done this hundreds of time.
This is the metal that Dawn gave to me.
I saw a short blonde-haired women, who looked between the age of forty and fifty, approaching the alter. I walked up to her and told her that I didn’t know what was going on. She explained to me what I just explained to in the above paragraph. She was also having the same discussion with another lady. We stood in front of the altar and waited for the priest to bring the monstrance to us. The lady’s name was Dawn, and I asked if she belonged to the prayer group. She said no, but her friend does. Then after a few moments, she said she had something to give to me. In my hand she placed a silver metal. “There is an Angel on it,” she explained, “and on the back it says ‘strength.'” I stood there and was like “Wow, that’s really nice of you to give this to me.” I didn’t know what the occasion was, nor why she chose to give this metal to me. I mentioned this and she said that she wanted me to have it. She mentioned that I could carry it with me in my pocket.
At this point I was feeling a bit emotional because it seemed like one of those things that was truly meant for me. Was this woman an angel? It sure seemed that way. It seriously was like some kind of divine message, and I felt like the hand of God was at work. Strength was what I had been seeking for much of my life. My life always seemed like an endless fight, but my enemy was none other than myself. I am often my own worst critic and even today, I sometimes find it difficult to go easy on myself, to love myself and to stand up for myself and say: “I am a-okay!” I would always strive to be perfect, and nobody is perfect, right?
After reflecting on all these thoughts that were floating around in my head, I put the metal in my pocket, taking great care not to lose it. Finally, the priest was approaching our area with the monstrance, and I saw some people touching the cloth and offering a prayer. In my mind I thought of my intentions: to find emotional piece within myself. I also thought of my mother who told me to pray for her. She was not able to attend the mass due to the later time. I thought of my father and all my loved ones.
The priest stood in front of me now and I came face to face with the monstrance. It was a marvelous sight and he turned it so that the center, where the host was, faced me. Time stood still and I was completely present. I gazed up in wonder, and it was like looking right into the very eyes of God. Suddenly I was leaning back and I fell. I heard my catcher saying a prayer of thanks and praise. I lay there on the floor for maybe a minute or so. My immediate thought was “Whoa!” When I got up the leader of the prayer group, Anne, gave me a hug. It was quite a profound and powerful experience and one that I shall never forget. I often carry that metal in my pocket, as it serves as a reminder of where I once was and where I would like to be.