I won't go into detail about what happened on Friday through Saturday. Let's just say that my faith and my beliefs were seriously challenged in a way that I never thought. I was placed in a situation in which I had to ask St. Benedict's intercession (as well as St. Michael Archangel's over the weekend) and only fueled the fire to get officially enrolled in the brown scapular (more on this in a bit.) It wasn't until I talked to my confessor that I felt better. I hope and pray that I am never put into that situation again (and, for the record, I did not seek it). The good thing that I got out of it is another reaffirmation that I love God above everything and that I would never do anything intentional to hurt Him. This brings me to what happened yesterday in which I had another one of these affirmations.
I will start off by saying that I've been using my iPod touch for confessions (I have the iConfess app) as well as for Mass (I have the iMissal as the first app on the screen). I've been using both for years now. Only once had I had an usher tell me to put it away only to let me keep using it after he saw that I had the iMissal app open and that I was using it to follow along during Mass. After that one time, he would even tell others about how I used the app, impressed that I would have it. Yesterday was a whole different story.
Like I said, I've been using these apps for years. I don't have it on the entire Mass; mostly just for readings (for better concentration) and for the Nicene Creed so that I don't mess it up. As soon as the Creed is recited, it goes back in my bag. It doesn't disturb anyone. I don't make noise. It stays as low as I can have it to make sure it doesn't distract anyone. The usher yesterday, who I've seen in Mass more than once, decided that yesterday it was going to be good to publicly tell me to put it away (as I was putting away)... right as soon as the Creed was recited... in front of everyone... and everyone in the general area heard it quite well. I tried to explain, and show him, that I was using it for the Nicene Creed but he kept being super rude about it and, well, to not slip and badmouth him let's just say that my response was to cry at the end of the exchange. So I cried for the next 20 minutes of the Mass... and the next half an hour after that. I have never felt so insulted and humiliated in church before.
My initial response was to leave because I was so angry that he would do that in front of everyone. My response when angry is usually silence and/or tears... and removing myself from the place or person who caused the response. I was angry at the usher for how he handled the situation and angry that I was angry at him right before communion. Since I knew that I did not want to receive Christ while angry, I did my best to talk myself out of the negative feelings. I am sure the Holy Spirit helped me in this situation because, even though I was still crying when I received communion, I was not angry doing it. What I did instead was not think about it and have an inner dialogue with God. I thought (since I know He knows my heart and mind) "I'm here for you, God. Nothing anyone will do or say will keep me away from You. I did not come to please others but you. If this is just another stumbling block the Evil one has for keeping me away, it's not going to work. I'm here for YOU because I love YOU." In that instant, I got the sudden inspiration to go up to the usher after Mass to tell him that I forgave him... and I did.
After Mass (and after the priest nearly denied me communion -- I'll get to this in a second), I walked up to the usher and said "I forgive you." He walked to the side and we talked. The anger and bad look he had given me seemed to have melted from his face. He explained that he couldn't let me use the app, even though he figured out (after I tried explaining what I was doing), because then he would have to let others do it too. I couldn't understand (and still don't) the logic behind that but I saw where he was coming from. I told him that I felt like he humiliated me when all I was doing was trying to stay focused and concentrated during Mass. I didn't mention that I also do it when I am terribly anxious to stay focused because I don't want to use anxiety as a crutch or an excuse. Either way, I once again reiterated that I forgave him and he apologized for his actions. That was the end of that.
And, now, you're probably asking: "so why did the priest nearly deny you communion?" Well, I think it was because I didn't stick my tongue out enough. Like I said, I was still crying at that point but I still tried to make myself strong and receive communion. The priest was going to place the host on my tongue but took one look at me, pulled it back, and said "stick out your tongue" in a manner that hurt. It made me feel like I was doing something wrong even though I've received the Eucharist in that way before. Tongue was out but apparently not good enough for him. I was already hurt and then having the priest give me that look and say "stick out your tongue" in a tone that was, well, hurtful to me (I don't know how else to describe it).
So, to sum up my day: 1) the alarm didn't go off (which was weird in itself) and we rushed to Mass, 2) the usher did what he did, and 3) then I felt like a priest nearly denied me communion. All in the span of 2 hours. That, after the Friday and Saturday I had, made me feel like they were huge stumbling blocks placed before me to make me lose it, to make it seem like God did not want to close to me (and I did have a split second thought that maybe I had done something wrong and that I did not deserve to be close to Him), and basically keep me away from Him. But, like I said in my inner dialogue to God, nothing will keep me away from Him. I won't give up attending Mass or going to church. I would ten thousand times get my feelings hurt by others during Mass as long as I know that God loves me and that I'm doing things right. That is the silver lining I found in all of these situations. My faith is stronger, my love for Him has grown exponentially (I never thought it was possible to have my heart grow that much and filled with more love than I thought I was capable of).
Of course, I will try to buy a missalette to use to avoid the usher situation again (I can see how it could be distracting to others though I was doing nothing wrong). I will keep attending Mass. So, negativity... you can come at me (bro) but I won't give up on my faith or God for anything or anyone. I know I already said it but I also wanted to repeat it. :D
So, that's it. That was my interesting (and horrible) weekend. It stunk but, in the crud I dealt with, I still found some beauty which is all I could ask for. :D
I may continue the positivity posts for at least this next week since I didn't get to finish it last week. We shall see. :D
Anyway, I am going to go figure out what to do with my Thesis (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that, as of today, it is officially released and I can share it.) :D
I hope you all had a better weekend than I did and that you have a great week. :D
As always, thanks for reading and God bless!