Wednesday, June 18, 2003

We gather in the holy Presence: the time before the 8 a.m. Eucharist
(instigated by talk in Gerard's comment box)

Transit Plus was very early. It's not even seven yet.
I sit outside the doors, tell the driver he doesn't have to stay.
The doors should be open already, they will be soon.
I pound a couple of times, then open my hands to pray.

Very soon, only minutes,
and one of the Fathers Carl appears with the keys, unlocks, and lets me in.
Just inside the doors, I greet Mater Ecclesiae.
She steps forward faithfully, right off her pedestal,
following her Son, her Lord, her Redemption.
But now is not the time to linger. He calls, He draws.

I keep moving, pause to bow to His altar,
where His one offering is made always present for us.
But I don't linger there either, not right now.
There's time later for His altar. He calls, He draws.
Also time later for His ambo, where the Word's words are proclaimed.
I caress it as I pass it. He calls, He draws.

I keep moving, until I arrive.
I lock my wheels at the bottom of the steps.
Before me, in the space at the top of the few steps,
is His Tabernacle, where He deigns to dwell.
Not now as a pillar of cloud, not as a pillar of fire,
but as food for our journey;
the food is He Himself.
I am, finally, where I belong.

I bow before the Mystery, and stay bowed awhile.
When I rise up, I smile at Blessed John
who looks over my left shoulder.
I take off the padded pushing gloves,
unzip the Liturgy of Hours book,
and open my hands.
"O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will proclaim Your praise."

About halfway through the second psalm of Readings
there's a hand on my right shoulder.
I look up and grin. It's our burden-bearer,
the one who has to wear the purple beanie.
We exchange a few words and a blessing,
he goes up the steps and settles in the right-hand corner.
(His Liturgy of Hours book doesn't have a zipper.)
The Presence calls him, the Presence draws him.

Smile at the Presence, take a deep breath,
and return to the psalms.
Others come and go.
Some I notice, some I don't.
Some I recognize, some not.
He calls them and draws them also.

During the first Morning Prayer psalm
the lady who sells nutrition supplements arrives,
taps me on the shoulder.
I assure her "I'm recovering nicely, thank you,"
then she goes up the steps and settles in the left-hand corner.
(Her Bible has gold edges.)
My surgeon's here somewhere also;
I never see him, but he sees me.
He talks about this place when he examines the incision.
They are called, they are drawn.

So many come.
Some settle in, like Nutrition-Supplement Seller and Burden-Bearer and me.
Some just stop for a few minutes, kneeling on the prie-dieus or even on the steps.
They all are called, they all are drawn.

Soon, it will be the time for the ambo and for the altar.
"May the Lord bless us, deliver us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.
Let us praise the Lord and give Him thanks."
Kiss the Hours book, close it and zip it back up.
Bow again a while, then unlock my wheels and proceed.
Soon, we find our places under the corona,
around the altar of the Lord.
One family in Him, all called, all drawn,
to this place which is home to Him and home to us.

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