During those early years of investigating child abuse, the only thing that kept me sane (sort of ) and whole was starting my days at Mass. A quick, 25 minute morning Mass was like yoga for me without the painful downward dog. Mass without the distractions, even good ones like beautiful music or cute babies, was good for my soul. Fast forward 4 years and it's harder to get there. Well, how about I find more reasons not to go. Anyway. Today I went. I left the gym early and stopped at Gift of Grace on my way home. The nunlets have morning Mass in a tiny room that might hold 10 people. And while the priest was a little ticked that someone (me) parked in his parking space and was therefore late for Mass, I didn't let my embarassment close off my heart this morning. Smart girl I am.
Fr. Brian spoke about Satan, which, I learned, means 'Stumbling block.' How awesome a description is that?! (He went on to say that Satan as a horned, caped, pitchfork bearing guy came from Zorastrianism (wikipedia it, don't ask me). In the book of Job, ha satan, is the adversary. While most religions like to talk about the warm fuzziness of God, we talk a lot less about the other side of that. About the dude trying to get in the way. Fr. Brian quoted Matthew 16:23, " But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.". Jesus didn't think Peter was Satan himself, but he was doing as Satan does, acting as a stumbling block.
I think of all the ways Satan steps in each day, all the stumbling blocks to leading the life I want. This morning I accidentaly cut a guy off and when I pulled up beside him, I waved and said I'm sorry about 3 times. He waited, contemplated, and then flicked me off. I was on my way to church for goodness sakes. It was so...mean. Caroline says I should do the sign of the Cross next time. Good call. Anyway, between that and taking Fr. Brian's spot, and being 5 minutes late, there were some stumbling blocks to getting to my spiritual happy place this morning. And it should be expected.
I need to remember that in genuine attempts to grow closer to God, Satan is going to try to circumvent it. In this wonderful season of Lent approaching next week, I will continue to recite St. Michael the Archangel's prayer and push away blocks to experiencing the grace and peace that I need, that I must have in my life. Because despite the blocks to getting to the nuns this morning, I got there. And it was exactly the peace I needed~ The quiet of my heart that, for me, only Christ through the Eucharist can really bring.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.