Well. The Holy Spirit apparently continues to be… wily.
(What can I say? He’s our Paraclete, our Advocate, which means He’s our lawyer! Which might explain why Mary’s called our Advocate, too; it’s a family firm and she’s His junior partner….)
As long time readers of this blog may know, my dad’s a United Methodist. Always has been. (Well, actually, he used to be some kind of Brethren, but then that Brethren church united with the United Methodists.) He usually goes to Mass with my mom on Saturday night or late Sunday morning, and goes to his church early on Sunday. (Apparently, that Brethren church used to have really long sermons, so a mere couple hours is as nothing.)
But he would almost never attend Mass on the week of any Marian feast.
He never made a big deal about it; he didn’t denigrate Mary or try to keep us kids from saying the Rosary on our own or complain about my Mary candle and Mary statue, or even my Mary-derived name. But he avoided those feasts, and if he forgot and came on one, he wouldn’t sing those songs — just as there are certain prayers he won’t say Amen to.
I talked to him once about it. (Only once. Mom is very adamant about Dad not being pressured to convert, especially since he’s been so extremely true to his promise to raise us kids Catholic. Also, because the O’Briens are just as hardheaded as her side of the family, and there’s nothing more likely to make either side dig in its heels than being pressured or argued with.) Dad said that although he didn’t have any trouble with most of the stuff Catholics believe, he did have a problem with Mary.
A final example from last year. We went to the Irish Festival downtown, and the Mass in Irish; and there was a hymn to Our Lady of Knock. Dad didn’t realize that’s what it was about, though, and he sang along happily like a true American Irishman — until we got to the chorus. Suddenly he looked like he’d bit into a big lemon stuffed with jalapeno. (And Dad doesn’t like spicy food. At all.)
But something happened today that made me start to wonder and hope and cross all my fingers and toes….
Today, Dad came to Mass with Mom and me, and at first adopted his usual “this isn’t my preferred feast to celebrate” pose of knotting his hands uneasily in his lap. But he sang the psalm about “The queen stands at His right hand, arrayed in gold.” Then he sang along on all the hymns.
Including the last hymn.
It was “Salve, Regina”!
!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 !!!!!!!!
(For the record, God, I am totally okay with feeling like an idiot if stuff like this comes along with it. Especially since I so frequently feel and act like an idiot without any supernatural excuse.)
Folks, I’d be very happy if you’d please pray for my dad. Thank you.