I don’t like odd-numbered years. Something about them makes me feel off-kilter, a little uneasy. Even-numbered years give me a sense of security; I feel grounded. This is probably why my emotions started to get a little out of whack at the close of 2018. Where would this new, odd year take me? How could I feel a sense of purpose and not feel like I was adrift?
One solution might have been to seek some sort of professional help. Who experiences anxiety every other year because of numbers?
Another solution popped into my head as I awoke at 12:02 a.m. on January 1, 2019. (I’d been asleep since 9:45 p.m., the first time in my life I’d slept through the New Year.) The idea seemed promising and yet daunting, perhaps the perfect type of challenge for an odd-numbered year. Why not go to Mass every day this year and blog about my experience?
There are several reasons not to do this. First of all, is anyone really going to care? (Certainly not everyone, but maybe a person here or there.) Second of all, am I really prepared to commit to attending Mass every single day, for 365 days? (I’d like to think so, although I’m already stressing about how to fit it into my weekday schedule.) Finally, isn’t it a little self-serving to write a blog about going to Mass every day; shouldn’t you just go and not tell anyone about it? (Possibly, but the blog part makes it that much more of a commitment.)
So I talked myself out of why not to do this, and now there’s no turning back.
Day one has been easy enough to handle. January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation according to the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. And for reasons that will be explained throughout the year, I am wavering between following the Latin Rite and Vatican II.
Mass is at 8 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Cleveland. It is a beautiful but austere church, with soaring ceilings and elegant statues that demand reverence. Immaculate Conception is referred to by those in the know as the MAC, which I like because it makes the church seem a lot less austere.
Fr. Bede breezes through Latin in a way that makes you think he can’t wait to head back home to watch today’s football games. Actually, he often moves on from the MAC to other churches as he is in high demand to say the Latin Mass.
Today, I’ve decided to not look at the missal and instead test how much of the Latin Mass I know. Short answer: I don’t know a lot. But I’m able to follow the general outline and understand what’s going on. This has taken me several years to accomplish. (Again, we’ll get to this whole Latin Mass thing later.)
When I do look at the missal, it’s toward the end of the Mass, after communion, and I catch a phrase that’s going to be my theme for 2019: “May this communion, O Lord, cleanse us from guilt.”
Yes! How to escape the Catholic guilt. You’re either not doing enough or doing too much, saying too little or saying the wrong thing. It’s enough to make you crazy, to be honest. Perhaps this Mass-a-day project will help to ease the guilt. Or perhaps it will encourage me to do the things I should do so that I don’t experience the guilt. Or maybe I’ll always have a twinge of guilt. Maybe it just comes with the Catholic territory.
At any rate, here’s to a successful New Year, odd-numbered as it may be.