Saturday, March 21, 2015



Father Adam's black shoes were so shiny on that terrible Sunday morning that they almost sparkled and twinkled, reflecting all the candles and bulbs whose light flooded the sanctuary, seeming almost to be frolicking as the priest moved through the holy ceremony. A Roman Catholic Latin Solemn High Mass can be an awe-filled event even for a non-believer not understanding a word that is said. But I was in the heyday of my faith: I believed it all, always accepting "mysterium est" when my mind was reluctant to accept what my soul embraced. I knew I was going to be a priest, I believed that I could become a saint: once I wore a wire hanger around my waist for six weeks so that I would never be comfortable, like saints with their hair shirts; I would not wear gloves or hats or warm clothes against winter cold unless I was ordered to; I gave away my desserts and did not eat foods I really enjoyed; I would kneel in the chapel for hours, yearning for a vision. So, in the sunrise hour of this holy, horrible day I was ecstatic: my soul was where it wanted to be--forever. But, the body has its claims, too: a little later when I tried to open the restroom door it seemed stuck shut. When I pushed it open a few inches, I saw a shiny black shoe slamming, slamming, slamming into somebody stretched out on the floor. I slammed the door shut. That thunder-crack still echoes throughout my whole being: the deaths of gods are not silent events. I cried. I wet my pants. I ran to the chapel, wanting to scream and curse. At what? Betrayal by Him? Three weeks later I was arrested for armed robbery.

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