I'm visiting the friary attached to the parish where I was assigned before being sent to my current assignment of full-time study. Looking at the parish schedule last night, I noticed that the pastor was to have both morning Masses today. So I volunteered to take the early Mass, which I had last celebrated back in the middle of July.
I'm so glad I did. So many things reminded me of graces and signs of graces I miss from being a parish priest: the lingering smell of incense in the corridor that goes to the church, reminding one of the great mysteries of God's mercy celebrated in funerals, the quiet solitude of entering the dark church early in the morning to open up and set up, the privilege of being witness to the deep and durable faith and devotion of ordinary people.
I thanked the early crowd for their prayers, and asked for more.
Brevity is a value for the typical early Mass-goer, so I was happy to hear that I still had it: "Thanks, Father. Good to see you. You're one of the good ones; you don't talk too much."