Sunday, May 27, 2007


Another one has rolled around before I'd gotten over being jaded from the circus last weekend. It was not a good attitude with which to attend Mass. Being what I've come to think of as "chemo Sunday"--the Sunday after a Thursday treatment when I'm physically wiped-out anyway--the gloomy mood was compounded. There wasn't much chance I would take anything home from Mass but an overwhelming likelihood that Mass would be sacrificial, and so it was. Attending the 7:30 at the parish where I still officially belong did nothing to improve this situation. I was there in body. My head and heart were still asleep in bed. I have never been a morning person.

The pastor recommended that we read "A case for the priesthood" by Father William J. O'Malley, S.J., an insert in today's bulletin, and so I did just now and found something to which I could relate:

I no longer resort to petitionary prayers. I stopped years ago when my mother, suffering the loss of her memory and self-control, gradually became entirely inaccessible and didn't even know who I was. Once, in the hospital, when I leaned over to kiss her, she started screaming, and the nurse told me perhaps I'd better leave.

I went down to the car, put my head on the steering wheel, and sobbed. I called God every foul name I could conjure. "I've given you my whole goddamned life. Why can't you let her go?" And God refused. It was the ultimate insight he gave Job: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Should I check my plans with you?"

Yeah, that's about how I feel about petitionary prayer. A waste of time, mostly. If God listens, He doesn't act like it. He does His own thing, at least where I'm concerned, so I may as well save myself the trouble. Oh, there are the little answered prayers...the ones that are important, but not all that important in the grand scheme of life. "Help me to find something appropriate and kind to say to this person." "Help me to drive safely to my destination." He answers those often. "Help me to find a place of peace to worship." No, he doesn't answer that one, and my heart is turning cold for lack of answer.

I will get out of this grand funk once chemo-Sunday has passed and I've got a full brain functioning again. In the meantime I'll rage with Father O'Malley at the lack of answers and the lack of compassion I'm finding in my heavenly Father as this Church to which I've tried to give my heart and soul crumbles around me into a heap of irrelevance.

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