“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”
Yesterday, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, I could see my breath in the back hallway. I dread now the walk through the wasted, frozen backyard to the compost pile, or any need to wander out into the snowy cold outdoors. Though if I had a shovel, or an open yard, I would revel in the tiny flakes and the bracing cold that makes the indoors so seductive. I have apple-pumpkin butter on the stove and coffee at my elbow, if only my husband were home in the warm sanctuary we have created I could watch the snowfall with careless enjoyment, wrapped in the nest of colours and scents we have created for ourselves.
I would love to welcome guests into my home today and watch the day together with tea and conversation to warm our souls. I would like to have a tableful of bright-eyed passionate people, playing cards and loving life. If Matka were here I would like very much to play gin rummy with her and Ojciec as I remember them playing on Sunday evenings – cards will forever feel like laughter, and smell like beef soup. If not my parents, than friends would be ideal, so long as they bring guitars and are eager to talk Tolstoy and theology.
At mass last night I fell again in love with the traditional mass. Our priest is truly a Byzantine, now trained in the Latin Rite, who prays the mass with an earnest, eastern energy that joyfully eclipses the many somber families in attendance. I feel almost as though I’m back at my Ukrainian parish among the enthusiastically independent prayers that the faithful send up silently throughout the liturgy. It often seems that the beauty of the liturgy is really only being actively nourished and encouraged in the Traditional Latin mass and in the Byzantine liturgy, though I know and have seen many novus ordo parishes rediscovering their sense of ritual.