“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”
Once you pass the main entrance of Center of Space Diagnostics, little to the side, there is a room adopted from an office space into a little chapel. During the day, it is open for everyone, and in the evening you can pray through the metal bars, allowing you to see what is inside. I saw quite often people going there to have their one to one session with God. Praying, begging, promising, arguing, thanking or just sitting there in silence, waiting for some kind of sing of His presence. You may assume, that this is typical Roman Catholic chapel. Modest in its decoration, giving the sensation of peacefulness and calmness. Once you walk inside, you are up for quite a surprise, as I was, when I saw it for the first time.
“Come in stranger to my little boutique! You can find here all you need. Just tell me what’s your worry and I am sure I can find a remedy for it.”
It was at the beginning of our stay in CSD when I found this room. I looked for a bit of peace, for a place where I can reset my mind. I hoped to find there seclusion, as this is what you would expect from place like this. Little that I have knew I was going to have a bit of surprise, for sure this was not the place I expected to find. When I crossed the doorstep I was hit, overwhelmed by all the things, that I have encountered inside. I sat on the bench and looked around, everywhere my eyes went I saw icons, paintings, figures, drawings or small statues. You name it, you got it!
“Today we have a special offer, say two Holy Mary’s in front of Lady of Fatima, and you can be sure she will listen only to you!”
There are few different paintings of Jesus – big cross hanging right above the alter, Jesus from Manopello or St. Faustina’s Jesus, couple of versions St. Mary – of Fatima, of Czestochowa, bunch of Saints, and even pictures of holy places. And if those were not enough I saw children’s drawings, either thanking or asking for blessing, rosaries and all size of medallions hanging on the walls, relics of saints standing in couple of places. And all brought just one question to my mind. “Where the hack am I? I wanted to have some peace and here is noisier than on bazaar”
“Skip the line to the Jesus, I trust you for only 10$. Please go the left from the main alter and there you will find him. Tell him you are coming from me and for sure He will help you.”
If you feel that you are not worthy of praying directly to Jesus or Mary, you can choose one of the many Saints, whose either relics, painting or pictures are present in the chapel. St. Padre Pio relics are on the right just next to his painting hanging on the wall. If you prefer more recent Saint, one who will better understand problems of the modern world – no problem! John Paul II relics are on the left, accompanied by his portrait and pictures of him. Just ask and he will pray on your behalf. If you prefer more figures over the crosses, or painting over the drawings there are couple of standing here and there. One would ask, “So, what is the issue?” For me, personally, is space. If I would be sitting in large cathedral, I would not even have noticed the amount, but in this small room, where you can hardly fit 50 people, you just don’t have air to breath. And instead of having a spiritual experience, you feel, a bit like you are in the middle of some cheesy Tarantino movie. With more focusing on human rather than God’s aspect of prayer.
“Bring on the actors!”
Leading role is held by priest, close to his 60s, not too tall not too fat, I would say nothing unusual. Until…. until he starts to speak. He has a deep, calm voice, likes to pause from time to time and emphasize words, which are being spoken. At first when I heard him I wasn’t sure if he is serious or not. If this is real Mass or just theatrical play. I saw and heard many priests but this one was too much for me. The culmination of his acting skills can be seen during the Eucharist. “Take this, all of You, and drink from it,“ he paused for a second, then rose his voice ”for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of new and eternal covenant,” lowered his voiced and started to heavy breathe ”which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins”. He rose the chalice above his head, and it looked like he would dip the bottom of the cross hanging high before him it in and started to speak loud again. “Do this in memory of Me.” Exhaled and lower the chalice. And for couple of more minutes my mind instead of being focus on the pray was wondering, “Did he really dip the cross in the wine or it only looked like that.”
When he kneeled, and bowed his head – people responded, “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again…” And in that response, you could hear our second actor. Mid-age lady, sitting to the right. After participating in couple of masses I saw that this is her spot. She helps to clean the chapel daily and takes care of the decorations. You can see that this means a lot to her, and without judging, you can read from her face, that she had different turns in life, not all good, but now she found salvation in God, and puts exceptional care in being as best as she can in her relation with Him. So what so special about her? First time when I heard people responding to priest her voice stood out. This was the moment when I stated to look through people and try to find out who speaks so loudly, slowly and articulates all the words so much, like she wanted to make sure God understand her very well. And this was far from normal pronunciation. Like your English teacher speaking to you loudly and slowly to make sure you understand every word he is saying to you. From time to time there was also a stand in that help her. Old lady who was singing so loudly and so out of tune you wondered how much more you can get out of this place.
Time for third actor, 30 plus man – The organist. Normally he would not have been even spotted by me, but since he sits behind his organs located on the left side of the altar, you can see him from the start. What so special about him? He has this nervous smiling grimace, that doesn’t fit to the moments in the mass, you starting to feel a bit puzzled. Is he smiling because, he also can not stand priest’s poor acting skills, or he is just nervous, that everybody looks at him when he is playing the organs and sings. I know I am picky here, but in combination with the rest this is just another little relish that just makes this place unreal.
I have tried many times to ignore all of that and just focus on the reason why I am in that place, but I just can’t. It is too much for me. Maybe I saw too many Tarantino movies and still think, that if he would come here, and say “Action!” nothing more needs to be done. No directing, no extra scenography, just “Action!” and he has another good take to his movie. Maybe I am looking for some answers and all those statues, pictures, paintings, people and priest are drowning God’s voice and I just can not hear Him talking.
“Why you allow all of that?”
“World would be dull, if it wasn’t for those people. And at the end, I loved them as much as I love you.”
This was amazing.
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Haha Tarantino is my favourite! That being said, Catholic mass of this kind feels very much like being present in a Wiccan ritual, It’s very theatrical and I think it’s because it evokes within our psyche the feeling of power and presence of greatness. What I personally have leant is that it isn’t “wrong” some people just enjoy that type of dramatic display. For me personally I feel that surge of power and presence of greatness when I’m out hiking or gardening or making love. For He is everywhere is he not (:
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