October 2, 2009

My Refuge

Refuge is an image of God encountered frequently in the psalms. It never spoke to me much until recently. It started when in the course of my daily life and work, I started to find a secret escape in our parish church. It's a busy church for sure, especially for a small parish; on one Saturday over the summer we had eight distinct services--Morning Prayer, morning Mass, funeral, funeral, wedding, confessions, Vigil Mass, and adoration and benediction.

But a lot of the time the church is just empty and quiet. It's like a big, quiet appendage off to the side of the business of the friary and the offices, and it's the last place anybody looks for someone. And perhaps rightly so; most of the time there is nobody there. Morning Prayer with the people gets prayed in the little friars' chapel adjacent to the sanctuary of the church, but for the brothers' Evening Prayer it is judged too far away, and so we exchange the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and the windows depicting our Capuchin saints for prayer around a coffee table under the bored gaze of the fake fireplace.

In the church there are no phones, no fights over Mass intentions, nobody angry at you over baptism sponsorship or their forfeited wedding deposit, no malfunctioning wireless connections to fix, or telephones that are 'broken' because the 'do not disturb' function has been activated. It's there that I can hide for three or ten minutes or half an hour to pray or just sit or kneel before the Lord Who is my Refuge. There He waits in his tabernacle, in His overwhelming humility--having not only surrendered to his Body being broken on the Cross in descent into the misery we have brought upon the world, but making that same Sacrificed Body present for us in the Broken Bread come into our hands. May my only refuge be imitation of that Mystery, and may I find my only rest in becoming the Sacrifice I receive.


pennyante said...

I love to spend a bit of time in church alone, whenever I have an opportunity..which isn't often.

After our evening Mass on Wednesdays, there is a short period of time before people arrive for choir practice. Once in the winter time, when it was already dark outside, our handful of people were concerned because I would be in the church alone until the choir members arrived.

I said, "don't worry, I'll be fine."

My priest told the people as they were walking out the door: "She isn't alone..."

He was right on target! He knew...!!!

Julia said...

Very good post. I know exactly what you're talking about.

It is vital for us all to spend time alone with the Beloved, loving and simply being with our sweetest, humble, Savior.

for narnia said...

hi Fr. C!
i remember that particular saturday! i was at all of those services, except for the wedding! this is a nice post - "refuge as an image of God" is a nice way to think of God. PEACE! see you tomorrow. there will be many distinct services tomorrow, too! ~tara t~