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Monday, July 21, 2008

A Little More Than Just Internal Dialogue

It's not always easy being green.

So, yeah, there was that brief memory lapse on Saturday night. But at my final mass on Sunday, which is at a different church than the other two, things kind of took a turn for the worse.
Before mass I forgot to do one thing that I usually do--check the Sacramentary to be sure it's ready, all the ribbons in the right place, etc. This I didn't realize until after I'd already processed to the altar to begin Mass. Which is not too much of a problem because I only need the book for the prayer which comes just before the readings. That page, thankfully, was marked. But, not only was the book not set up for mass otherwise, it was not the Sacramentary I usually use! This one is set up a little bit differently. So, instead of being attentive during the readings, I was fumbling through the book, hoping not too many people were noticing. I managed to get things more or less in place before I had to get up to proclaim the Gospel. And, actually, of the three versions of my homily this weekend, this one, I thought, turned out the best. Then, back to mass.
I was so flustered by having the wrong book, I forgot the handwashing. I didn't realize this right away. No, I realized this a short while later, which caused me also to wonder: did I skip more than that?! This distraction, then, messed up my gestures for that part of mass, but I also managed to figure out that I'd only skipped the handwashing. So, Phew! No questions about the validity of mass.
So, I thought I was out of the woods until I realized that I hadn't marked the page for the prayer after the Lord's prayer, which I usually have the book open to for that part of the mass. So, a little bit of panic as I realized this was going to have to be from memory, and if I got stuck this could be really embarrassing. I'm happy to say the memory worked, and we made it through the rest of mass without a hitch. I'm not sure how aware the congregation was of all that drama, but it was a humbling reminder of the fact that every mass need not be perfect to be prayerful--and valid!