Taking up what was laid aside; isn’t that what we are all doing these days? Have you had the experience lately of searching for, then finding, what formerly was a frequently used (or worn) item, and saying, How long since I last used this? There is probably a lot of that going on these days.
There is also some laying aside of what we had taken up. Here in the rectory, we kept a box of latex gloves near the bottom step in the hallway; it sat there for so long nobody noticed it any longer. After stashing a few gloves with my shoe polishing kit, I just put it away in the tool closet. My car-covid-kit still sits inside the hatch of my VW, with gloves and masks and wipes; perhaps it is time to put away some of that, too.
There is much chatter about how the past fifteen months have changed people’s habits and priorities. People assure one another that they realized who and what is most important in their lives, and adjusted accordingly. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to assume that every change has been for the good. Many a friendship has been left to wither, many a generous and life-giving practice prohibited.
Here at Saint Bernadette Central, we are neither tip-toeing into the new normal, nor rushing heedlessly. This past weekend, the first under the rules newly given us by our supervisors, was passing glorious. Faces we had not seen in ages because they had not yet been back, because they had been away at college, or just because they had been covered, were beaming everywhere. Best of all, this dramatic and difficult transition was marked by an authentic mutual care, one for another; not to crowd or frighten, nor to demand or accuse, but rather to offer everybody whatever would make it possible for us to worship together. Joy!
This Pentecost gift of the Holy Spirit came right on liturgical schedule, as we received what we had lost in our ability to hear and understand one another despite the different languages and understandings that pushed us apart. Just in time, too, for this weekend’s exaltation of the Holy Trinity, the being-with-ness of God in His inmost being, the Divine intimacy from Whom we spring and toward Whom we yearn. Let us savor together the deep necessity of being together.
Neither rushing nor creeping, we will be taking up again some old practices here at the rectory and in the church, and putting aside some things we took up to accommodate the exigencies of the moment and the months. We shall be evaluating which things should be which, among these our current Mass schedule, in particular. Please extend to us the same care and patience you are showing one another as we find our way, like the householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old. (Mt 13:52)
We might be out of practice, and we might not achieve one hundred percent right out the gate. But there is much we can offer to one another as, in earnest, we set about taking up what was laid aside.