Thursday, December 8, 2011

Through My Fault . . .

Aside from the Mystery of Faith, I thought I served a perfect Mass this morning for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception—the way a pitcher throws a perfect game, or at least a shutout.

I am no Luciano Pavarotti, however, and Father Chateau, the celebrant, is a couple notes short of Plácido Domingo. Not to mention Bill, the lector, who will never give José Carreras a run for his pesos. The Three Tenors we are not. So when it came to the Mystery of Faith—sung, not chanted—I looked around in vain for a cantor, or even my friend Heidi, who usually leads the sung parts at 7am Mass. No such luck.

I dove in: “We proclaim your death, O Lord…”

By the second of the three lines of version A on the new Mass card, I was wandering in the tonal wilderness—without a guide, and practically without a companion. There were an estimated 150 people at the Mass. At least 140 of them remained silent; they could only listen and gasp. At the end, I consoled myself with thoughts on humility.

Other than that, I tell you, the Mass was aces.

After tidying up in the sanctuary and sacristy, I went down the aisle and out the front door. Walking by just as I exited were Henry and Phyllis, she on his arm and on a cane. One of my Mass friends once called Henry and Phyllis the cutest couple on earth. They have been married 65 years and they come to Mass every day.

I began launching into standard jocularities, when Henry cut me short.

“That guy in the tie walked by those candles six or seven times and never lit them,” he said. He was smiling up through the corners of his eyes at me. I was wearing a tie, but who was he talking about? I had lit the two candles on the altar before Mass and the candles on the side altar before the Blessed Mother. I was proudly certainly free of candle sin.

“What guy?” I asked.

“The guy in the tie,” he said again, gesturing up at me.

“What candles?” I said. “I lit all the candles.”

“The candles in the Advent wreath,” he said, and Phyllis chuckled.

Oy . . . The Advent wreath . . . They laughed their cute, evil laugh together, and I went off down the street, slapping my forehead. . . .

So let’s call it a two-hitter, OK? With a couple of cheap runs in the seventh.

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