missing Mass last weekend, I emailed one of our favorite local priests about what I could do regarding my terrible no-Mass streak. His advice was simple: keep trying. Try to make it to a Sunday Mass and keep aiming for every Mass time until I can get to one. If I can't go on a Sunday, try to go on a Monday... on a Tuesday... on a Wednesday (and so on) until I get myself to Mass. On Monday, I took his advice... with a little twist: I decided to watch the daily Mass on EWTN until I could physically attend Mass.
I set up my iPod touch alarm at 3:50 p.m. (PT) for a repeat of the daily Mass since it's on live at 5 a.m. when I'm usually either asleep or about to fall asleep again (if I drive Mom to work). Every day (except for Friday), I turned it on. I only made it through Wednesday before distractions popped up during that time. I watched part of Thursday and none on Friday. No, I didn't watch it on Friday but I made it to an actual Mass that day which was much better!
Can you hear the angels singing? Yes, I finally went to Mass! Not only was it a Latin Mass (which is our family's preference) but it was celebrated by one of my favorite priests and I got to share that time with friends who inspire me to be more faithful. Our young adult group had planned on meeting up after Mass and an hour of Adoration and Benediction. I absolutely loved it, despite the 40-something degree temperature (more on this a bit later). There wasn't confession beforehand and we spent a good 45 minutes or so just trying to get to the church (when it should be half that long) but it was heavenly. I felt that wonderful inner peace I get when I attend Latin Masses. Even though I wasn't able to receive the Eucharist (I have to let them know that I'm going to need the low-gluten hosts and, of course, go to confession first), my heart was full of love and peaceful contentment.
The hour of adoration was new for me. I've never done more than 30 minutes of adoration and the last couple of times were hard for me because I get so distracted and the time seemed to go slowly. Not on Friday. The time went by way too fast for me. I prayed the Rosary, the chaplet of Divine Mercy, the evening prayers of the Little Office, the chaplet of St. Michael Archangel, and then had a couple of minutes of silent reflection. I wish I had gotten more time in silence but it was still a wonderful time for me... and it inspired me to do it more often.
After adoration and benediction, the group met up and we spent about an hour or so just chatting amongst ourselves and with our spiritual adviser. I was very glad that I had gone since I have been on the fence about going for a good 36 hours. Why was I on the fence? I was worried about getting sick due to the cold weather and my lack of warm clothing. Guess what ended up happening...
The last group meeting I had attended (in mid-January; we meet twice a month), it had been about as cold or colder than Friday. I had been fine since I had worn a longer skirt and ugly faux-Ugg boots to stay warm. This time I wore a knee-length dress with heels (I couldn't find boots in time). I thought I would be fine since I still wore fleece-line tights which are designed to keep you warm. I probably would have been okay if we hadn't been standing outside in 40-something degree weather for about half an hour (total). Long story short: circumstances beyond our control kept us outside longer than we anticipated. I felt it in my throat when I got home and then I really felt it the next morning when I got up at 4 a.m. Ruh-oh.
I ended up having to cancel today's trip to the dentist (I was supposed to go down to Baja California, Mexico for that). I hope to try again next weekend (and pray that my broken molar doesn't get infected between now and then since it's now been a month since it chipped). Since it's been raining, on and off, this about 2 a.m. and I've had a sore throat (and now a slight cough at times) and my mom is still recovering from her own cold, we decided it was more prudent to wait so we wouldn't get more sick.
Was my getting sick (after I had been warned not to get sick since my white blood count - amongst other things - was so low at the last draw) worth attending Mass? Was the delay of getting my broken molar fixed worth it? I think so! I haven't gotten sick (neither cold nor flu) in about 2-3 years and this cold (chill?) seems to be very mild compared to previous viruses. For that I'm thankful. Now, I'm not advocating risking your health to attend Mass -- especially since Mom and I aren't going to Mass today because we're still nursing our colds (I'm pretty sure I'm currently contagious, too) and it's really cold outside -- but going to Mass did three wonderful things.
First: it made me face my fears. I was scared that I would get sick (which ended up happening anyway, lol) if I attended because I knew it was cold. Still, I trusted that God would take care of me and that He would give me the strength to endure if it I did get sick.
Second: it helped me remember that I need to work on trusting Him. I had been doing well in this department but, somewhere post-Advent and Christmastide I had lost my way again. I've gotten sick but I'm doing okay. Trust. Now I'm going to trust that He will help me not get an infection between now and next weekend... or that He will help guide me to dental help that doesn't cost an arm and a leg around here before then.
Third: it helped me remember how much I love Mass and how I would rather face my fears than not attend Mass again. I don't like missing Mass. I don't like the restlessness that comes with my putting distance between God and myself, which I always feel like I do when I don't make it to Mass. My fears are not worth being away from Him.
I will continue to watch the daily Mass on EWTN when I cannot make it to daily Mass at the local parish or to our new (and temporary until the FSSP priests can get their own) parish. I will continue to push myself and even try to find ways to get cheap rides (can't afford to pay taxi cabs on my limited budget) to Mass in case I can't physically drive. Even if I'm lightheaded, I can usually be okay as long as I can sit. I'm sure God will understand if I sit when I should be kneeling as long as I'm there. Following the advice of one of our FSSP priests, I also plan on purchasing low-gluten hosts to take with me to Mass whenever I can attend... and talk to the priests at the local parish about how we can work this out for daily Mass.
I will also be more kind to myself when I can't physically attend. I'm actually not beating myself up right now because I know that going to Mass today is probably not a good idea, for several reasons that include being contagious, it raining on and off, and knowing that my immune system was considered fragile at last blood draw. I will catch the 9 p.m. encore of the daily Mass on EWTN since I slept until 11:30 a.m. this morning.
Anyway, these are all my (long and detailed; sorry!) thoughts for the day. I'm going to try to eat something and try to hydrate myself while I wait for the daily Mass to begin on EWTN. I'll be praying for everyone who is going out to Mass in inclement weather.
OH! And don't forget to enter for your chance to win a Magnificat Lenten Companion app! It ends on Tuesday at midnight, Eastern time. 29 hours from when I'm writing this... go! ;)
I hope you all have a blessed weekend. I hope to write before Ash Wednesday because I'm going to give up two big things and I'm going to need quite a few people to keep me accountable, especially those who follow me on several social media platforms.
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D