Encountering the Universal Church (Part 2)

The night before my final race in the YMCA Triathlon Cup series lingered later than I desired with preparations for our Sunday afternoon K4J Club, the activities of our oldest son and the friend who was sleeping over, and spending one-and-a-half hours in our neighbors’ basement avoiding tornadoes. Selecting a mass with a time and location that would maximize the sleep I would still get, I attended Holy Savior.

The church’s reputation of having a vibrant, soul-filled African American liturgy did not prepare me for such a dynamic service so early in the morning. But each personal touch added minutes to the mass, which is probably why their website lists the mass time from 8:00 am – 9:00 am, rather than just 8:00 am.

Not waking up early enough to eat breakfast before I left and still go to Communion, I packed an ideal breakfast to optimize triathlon energy that I could eat after mass.

As the mass progressed, seeds of worry about having enough time to eat breakfast and enjoy a timely arrival for my heat starting time grew. By the memorial acclamation, shamefully, I began calculating how many more mass sections could possibly be sung between then and when I could slip out after Communion.

Full panic set in at the Holy Holy. Worried that the priest had not consecrated the Eucharist by twelve til the hour, visions of me upchucking my yogurt and pears while doing the 500 meter swim replayed in my mind. They were still going strong when I slipped out the back at 9:00 am.

With a great sense of humor, God teaches through our experiences. My high-achieving, production-oriented culture clashed with the more people-oriented, connecting, be-in-the-present-moment culture of African Americans. Then with Jesus in the sanctuary, I acquiesced that I would be late for my check-in time. I surrendered to diving in the pool for my sprint with an uncomfortable belly full of undigested food.

After receiving the Eucharist, I rushed to the Y. Attending Holy Savior was not a coincidence. Rather, it hit me where I am weak by convicting me about putting people and God above achievements.

Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Look for the lesson God is trying to teach today, especially when stressed.