Sadness, thy name is flu…

Well, I’m not sure how to interpret this – sign from God or full-fledged coincidence? – but an unpleasant experience on Sunday with either flu or food poisoning kept me from leaving my house, never mind going to church. I’m on the mend but I find myself with no church experience to chat about. So I thought I’d tell you about an experience I had a few years ago at a Catholic church in
St. Paul.


I’ve probably been to Catholic churches as much as any other type. But when I was temping at a Catholic religious-goods mail order company in St. Paul (more on that later, I assure you), I met some nice girls who invited me to join them for mass at St. Agnes, affectionately known as the Church of the Green Clock because of its tall spire and lit-up clock whose green glow can be seen at night all over the Twin Cities.


I went once, and I had a strange moment there. They played the music of Mozart’s Requiem Mass that night, and I’ve adored Mozart since I saw Amadeus with my mother in high school. So there I was, listening to music I loved and trusted, and not thinking about much except whether people would stare at me when I didn’t head up for communion.


Side note: I’ve always taken communion seriously. I may not be Catholic, but I don’t feel it’s right for me to waltz in and do it when I don’t share the beliefs of those who are members of the church and believers in the credo that generated communion. Am I too weird about this? Should I just do it and not worry about it, or am I properly concerned that true believers would be offended by my participation?


Anyway, as I listened, I found myself listening to a voice that spoke with complete conviction in my head. I had been thinking of nothing, but recently I had been struggling with a difficult situation and trying to weigh the right and wrong of my actions. Suddenly, this voice that was mine and yet not mine said, “Your good and faithful heart was broken and it was wrong.”


Sounds like just what I wanted to hear. So was this the voice of God? My own conscience? Self-justification? Simply my real voice, when the voices of guilt and anger and sadness and self-consciousness had been temporarily silenced?


4 Responses to “Sadness, thy name is flu…”

  1. 1 Chuck Warnock January 1, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Holly, sorry you were sick yesterday, but glad you’re on the mend. I’ve been reading your stuff and I like your honesty, so I’ll be back. Plus, I’m just “around the corner” at Confessions of a Small-Church Pastor, so welcome. I like your story — sounds like something God would say, even if you’re not sure if it was God or not. And the communion-thing — just my opinion, but think of it like sitting at the table of a friend. For me that’s a better image than the doctrine approach. Happy New Year! — Chuck

  2. 2 hdolezalek January 4, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks, Chuck! This is exactly the kind of thing I hope for. Happy New Year to you too!

  3. 3 Eddie January 18, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    About the communion thing:
    First the background:
    My wife’s’ family are “CEO’s” at their Catholic church (Christmas Easter Only), while we are “haven’t-missed-a-Sunday-in-months-Lutherans”. We always alternate Christmas and Easter services so we can all be together on these days. Whenever we go to Catholic services I abstain from taking communion. I feel like I am a guest there and they would prefer not to have me take communion, so I honor their wishes. My sister-in-law always gave me grief about this so last Easter I asked the priest, and he said that the church would prefer I not take communion, unless I wanted to convert back to Catholicism.

  4. 4 hdolezalek January 19, 2007 at 12:04 am

    That was often my take, Eddie. In churches that seem to have a less stringent view of communion, I tend to take it; but at Catholic churches I never do. That may be a weird dividing line, but that’s how I’ve done it.

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