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Monday, January 05, 2009

Live, Jesus, in our hearts....forever...

The darkness of night on campus surrounded me. Dew was settling upon the grass and the few cars that remained in the lots. The various Halls loomed silently, only a few windows glowing in those wee hours. No one was walking about...but me. Even my own shadow had taken a respite for the night.

I was making my rounds, from one dorm to the next, from St. Mary's Hall into Heffron, then to Griffon. Lasalle was next, then on to Hoffman, a building that had no public ghosts but often harbored carcasses of someone's pet.

The trek was short to the Chapel, and my key rattled in the lock as I turned the core, making sure it would lock when I closed it.

The Chapel was my favorite building and yet I passed through it quickly, thinking my professionalism must make it more holy. I hadn't been practicing my faith, but I wanted to be sure it was safe. I don't remember anymore if I genuflected...I think I did, out of habit, but I wasn't sure why.

But there was a Presence in the chapel. Even though I was alone, there was a sense of protection and..well...presence. I would shine my flashlight around, but always, turn towards the front, towards the tabernacle.

And always, there would be the sense of welcome, the invitation to remain. To be seated, or to kneel. Even to sit on the floor. Only to remain, for it was somehow...home.

Often, when I passed through the Chapel, my eyes would tear up and I'd wipe them away, savagely, having no time for emotion.

Even as I longed to remain, as I wanted to lie face-down on the floor, allowing the red plush carpet to absorb me, to gaze at the candle at the tabernacle...I went about my business.

And always, as I left, there was a sense of rupture. It was agony.

But I had to be about my rounds. I had to make the next call. My voice echoed in the chapel, and I was proud...I was doing my job. I was a good worker. The chapel was safe, and I knew I was Called...to make sure it was safe. This special refuge that I was locking up...it was safe. No one could get in.

Not even me, without the key.

I should have dropped the keys.

I should have remained.

I should have let the silence and the darkness of the chapel swallow me. At times, I did stop, and I turned towards the altar. I sat in a pew, in the silence, begging for mercy. Begging for help. Knowing Jesus was there, but not knowing how. Wishing I wasn't so alone, and paradoxically knowing I wasn't.

And then I would get up and flee into the lights of the quad, making sure the door was locked behind me. If I had remained, I would have been there all night. It scared me that I didn't want to be anywhere else, and so I ran away.

I couldn't seem to enter the welcoming Presence of the chapel without tears, and so it became my custom to rush through it. Not wanting to be disrespectful, even though I didn't know why that idea would come to me. Always saying a rare prayer while there.

It was the only darkness on campus that didn't threaten...and yet terrified me at a level I couldn't understand. For when I entered, I sensed love, and I didn't understand the source.

It was easier not to ask questions but instead, to flee.

But when I got back from Mexico, something was different. In the chapel, there were pamphlets, and some of them were for religious communities, and some of them were missionary. I read through them and looked at my options. I wanted to go back. Was I a missionary?

I rejected the ones that had to do with being a Sister. I'd looked around at the Brothers who ran my college, and their life wasn't attractive. I didn't want that..but I wanted to give. Everything.

Each time I passed through the Chapel, I would seek out the rack with the info, looking for something new. I would ask God for His help, loving the silence and the welcome, but too shy to remaine.

I was the elusive doe, the silent lamb. The shy fox.

But even now, I can look back, and remember the warm, enveloping darkness of the Chapel, the Presence of Christ, and wish I was there. I wish I had taken the time to remain, to forget about the schedule that existed only in my mind.

I wish I could lie face-down on the red carpet and offer myself to Our Lord, who waited for me there, who comforted me even in the seconds I took to pass through. Even though I was the least...He knew I was there, and tried to get my attention. And I ran away.

We used to pray, at every school gathering:

St. John Baptiste de la Salle.....pray for us!

Live, Jesus, in our hearts....FOREVER!

And so I continue to pray. And He answers, for even though I didn't realize He was with me, Jesus has never let go of my hand...or my heart.
*
May He live forever in your heart as well.
*

6 comments:

Maureen said...

"The word became flesh, and pitched his tabernacle among us."

Little Sister said...

Thanks for the information!

The Ironic Catholic said...

:-) (and sniff)

I'll remember that when I go there tomorrow and look around that small entryway.

Peace,
IC

"The other Lasallian blogger"

Adoro said...

Maureen ~ who are you quoting?

Little Sister ~ All I ask is that you pray for a Dominican without a home!

IC ~ If you go there and pray for me...that's all I need.

Raphael said...

you went to a Lasallian school too? *high five*

Adoro said...

Raphael, yes sir, I did! :-)