I'm not exactly sure why, but I've been going to daily Mass this past week. I guess I wanted to see if it would make a difference. I've been working long hours & am contemplating big changes in my life... My extended family is also going through transition, which directly affects me in various ways. I know when I get worn out, I get stressed out. Its been my custom to use my precious downtime to sleep or engage in mindless activities, but daily Mass, I've found, seems equally, if not more restorative.
I've been attending a noon Mass on the grounds of the Grotto. Its conveniently located between home & work, so I spend 30 minutes at Mass, another 30 in silence before the Tabernacle & then I jaunt off for a quick stroll through the Stations of the Cross, which are situated on a path in a small wooded area. Its the most blessed hour & 15 minutes of my day. I go straight to work & can definitely tell the difference in how I think & interact with my coworkers.
I've begun to recognize the “regulars”- while there are anywhere from 20 to 50 people in attendance, only a handful stay daily. Instead of racing out of the church after the priest, they flip down their kneelers to pray their rosaries or make their way to the front to kneel before the Tabernacle. Others sit & read quietly or ask the intercession of the various saints stationed throughout the chapel. I watch the nuns scurry across the altar area, putting out candles & tidying up... and then the music comes softly over speakers stationed somewhere- monks chanting or church bells chiming. The main lights are dimmed & we are left to our own devices.
Yesterday after Mass, there was an Asian couple behind me a few rows back. I could hear them whispering back & forth & at first, I wondered what they were carrying on about. As I continued listening, I realized they were praying the Rosary together in their native tongue. I only knew this because I adopt the same rhythm when I pray it. I was able to pick out the words “Hail Mary, full of grace”... and “Holy Mary, Mother of God”... And I felt the strangest thing- I felt full inside, full of joy & something else that nearly brought me to tears. It was a sense of connection... Even though we didn't speak the same language, there was something about knowing they were praying the same prayers I pray...