Thursday, March 08, 2007

a pretext to an ash wednesday observation 2

"hi, i'm andrew, and i'm an aholic. (see this post for the first part of the story.)"

"hi, andrew."

"i suppose that means that i'm an all-around addict. for instance, steve told me about mike sando's seahawks blog, and i've spent most of my evening reading about the grant (wistrom) release and (deon grant) signing. you've probably noticed that i'm addicted to blogging, and i also tend to grow enamored with particular topics. catholicism is one of those topics. however, my first catholic mass occurred years before the birth of my catholicism obsession. i hadn't yet puzzled over an alberto ferreiro christian history quiz or posted provocative questions on a catholic answers forum. and i certainly wasn't catholic. thus it was with great trepidation that one sunday i found myself in a communion line, approaching a real-life catholic priest.

"in protestant churches, communion is nearly always a serious affair, but there is often a subdued hint of celebration. here, everyone seemed downright stoic. i understood the mood, but i was rather worried about that sober-looking priest. as each congregant received the elements, they performed some kind of a ritual with their hands and then mumbled conspiratorially with the cleric. i hoped they weren't speaking latin. there was no way that i would pull this off.

"for a moment i thought of the last supper. it was as if i was one of christ's oft-confused apostles: nudge, nudge. hey, peter. peter! what's he mean with this 'take and eat my body crap'? he's so bloody morbid. i just don't get it. but that's as close as i got to jerusalem. instead of forgiveness and community, i was wondering how the grim-faced padre was going to handle my insubordination when i failed to dip the wafer at the proper angle. this could turn ugly fast.

"peter (my good high school buddy, not the simon peter, rock of christianity) was now standing with the priest at the altar. that meant i was next. i bowed my head, and prayed 'lord, help me do this right.'

"the heavens chuckled and the priest beckoned me with his eyes. sharp, searching eyes, peering into my soul, scanning my contents for a date of confirmation, confession, anything to identify me as a true believer. i stood still, hoping that the priest would make the first move, kindly offer me some bread and wine. (andrew, what a great surprise! here's a wafer and some juice, take these in memory of christ's death for you.) the second dragged mercilessly into two seconds, and then three. he seemed to be waiting, but i was frozen with indecision. suddenly, my body spasmed into action. i may have cupped my hands, i may have made the sign of a cross, i may have flagged down a wayward aircraft, it's rather unclear. as my body performed this mysterious communion jig, i stared at the priest, channeling silent pleas into his brain.

"and then he frowned. it was only a subtle downward settling of the lips, but i knew that the church was about to erupt into a chorus of fire and brimstone. and then pitch forks, stones, and fiery stakes. i was a goner.

"but the priest spared me the death knell. he handed me the wafer, i drank the wine, and the morning's trauma was complete. i escaped saint joseph's but i'm still haunted by a sense of paranoia whenever i attend a catholic mass. i'm older and wiser, and i now know that protestants aren't welcome in the communion line. while this may mean that i can safely wait in my seat during the eucharist, it also accentuates my sense that i'm an impostor. i walk into a cathedral and think, 'hey, everybody, i'm not catholic, look at me!' "

andrew david. "radical dizziness, an unmentioned symptom of non-catholics who take catholic communion" seattle, wa.


andrew said...

basinger, have a good trip! i hope you saw this sometime before your flight. i hurried through it on account of your pleas! there'll be a third installment related to ash wednesday, but this post doesn't have a cliff-hanger, so i figured that was fine.

also, sorry if it the multiplicity of peters was confusing. it just so happens that my catholic friend's name is peter and that, according to da vinci's infamous painting, the disciple andrew (me) sat next to the disciple peter, so i couldn't resist the duality of our names....

Brendan said...

Hey,, I googled St. Patty's Day and found out it's March 17, not this weekend. Perhaps we should plan some double date action next weekend . . . yeah?

andrew said...

great idea! but beth is out of town from the 15th to the 25th. it's too bad though, because she loves irish stuff--irish pubs, irish music, irish dancing....

also, we're a no-go for this sunday night, but we may join you sometime in the future.

Matt Basinger said...

Andrew, I missed this before I left, but was pleased to find it today. I enjoyed the satisfying end to this humorous romp over my microwaved chili.

Your use of peters was great - I liked the funny clarification of you standing behind your friend peter - very well written. you never let me down.


andrew said...

thanks. was it straight microwaved chili? or did you add some cheese or exotic vegetables?