Do you ever have those times when you are at Mass or in adoration and someone comes in and you really, really wish they hadn’t shown up? I’m not talking about wishing that you had alone time with Jesus in the adoration chapel, I’m talking about that one specific person you would rather never see again, let alone in a church. Maybe it is your ex, maybe it is an old friend who you had a bad falling out with, maybe it is a relative or someone who has been talking trash about you. Whoever it is, you don’t want them there.
I get it.
About a year ago I went to confession one night only to find my ex…and his brother…and his father in line as well. Our break up wasn’t as terrible as some have been, but it wasn’t pretty either. I walked in, saw him, and then his brother, and then his father and thought seriously about leaving. I’ve written about this particular ex before, when he came to Mass where I was playing violin at the time and all I wanted to do was run away. Leave. Or kick him out. Do you think God liked any of those options? No way José!
Sometimes it is just that annoying person, even they don’t have any relation to you, per se. There is a lady who comes to daily Mass at one of the parishes I frequent during the week and she always talks during Mass. Not just when she shows up late (which is typical), but during the consecration, during communion, after communion, during the readings. Pretty much anytime she feels like it, basically. The days that she sits in the same pew as me and tries to talk to me drive me up a wall. I’ve hushed her so many times that she no longer sits by me. Instead, she sits in front of me and talks to the lady there because that lady doesn’t hush her. There are days I really don’t want to go to Mass because her chattiness is distracting and frustrating, to say the very least.
But guess what I’ve figured out: this is how Heaven will be.
No, Heaven will not be full of people talking throughout Mass (because there won’t be Mass, we will be with God in His fullness). Heaven will not mean that I’ll be stuck in line for confession with my ex-boyfriend and his entire family. However, Heaven means that we will all be there, the lady who talks and drives me nuts, my ex-boyfriends (God willing), the guy who comes into the adoration chapel reeking of booze, the drunk, the sinner, the tax-collector, the prostitute, the thief, the gossiper…yup, they are all going to be there. Dealing with them being at Mass or in the adoration chapel is one thing, but we are called to something deeper. We are called to see this as a preview of Heaven. We are called to love them, to embrace them even when they drive us nuts.
I know, it is hard.
Do you think I want to sit next to that lady who thinks that talking about Ms.So-and-So’s nose job is more important than listening to the words of consecration? Nope. I don’t. But chances are that God loves her just as much as He loves me and that someday we’ll be in Heaven together. I could avoid her and be angry (and probably spend more time in purgatory because of it), or I could love her and pray for her now and take the opportunity that God is giving me to humble my prideful old self and experience a taste of Heaven right now.
Have any of you ever experienced anything like this? What helped you to be charitable towards people when you didn’t want to?
And now, for a bit of musical genius to further cement my point…enjoy! (The video is pretty basic but the words are where it is at!)