living liturgically (season one, episode ten, ordinary time 2022)

So far, ordinary time has not been ordinary at all, but that’s usually true in my life anyway. My spirituality is anything but ordinary, and I have this uncanny ability to do absolutely everything the wrong way, and yet it seems that for me and my relationship with Jesus, the order of things is the correct order for me. I was told about Jesus my whole life, but I would argue that I never truly encountered Jesus until the day I walked into my first service in the Episcopal Church. For those who ask why I’m Episcopalian and not Catholic, I have two responses: I’m Episcopalian because I first met Jesus in the Episcopal Church, and secondly, I am Catholic, I’m just not Roman Catholic.

I suppose for me I ought to begin calling this season extraordinay time. This past week brought a major shift in my spiritual life, a shift that has been in process for a while now. I’ve alluded to the fact that I’m quite well acquainted with the darkness, and have seen and experienced and participated in things that are truly evil. Several months ago, I called on Mary, Undoer of Knots, to undo the knots in my life and I’ve got to say that it’s not a good idea to ask for that unless you’re truly ready. I’m not sure that I was ready as such but that Jesus and Mary were ready and they have been helping me through.

I’m using ordinary time to focus on my own individual journey with Jesus, getting closer to him, and working through some spiritual issues that I need to work through. I’m spending the time doing a lot of reading, and I’m attempting to listen to Jesus and do what he asks of me. The latest thing he asked of me truly pissed me off, but you know, after my going back and forth arguing with the dude, it occured to me that Jesus has done a lot for me, he’s dragged my dumb ass kicking and screaming out of some pretty bad places. Which means that I should probably give up arguing so much and just agree to his requests in the first place.

I don’t usually disclose the kinds of things Jesus asks me to do, but not only is this one very public, but I want to share the arguments I posed to Jesus. For the past few months, Jesus had been working on me to ask me to wear a head covering when in church, in prayer, in confession. I was, to be brutally honest, totally pissed. I told Jesus that I’m not a sweet, conservative, church lady, and that he appeared to think that I was. Jesus came back at me and told me he understood my frustration, but that he was not asking me to be a sweet, conservative, church lady. He was asking me to cover my head.

I told Jesus “my family back in Australia does that shit, and it’s triggering.” Jesus promised to take that trigger away. Besides, he said, they wear fancy hats to out do each other, you’re going to wear a veil. Church isn’t the Melbourne Cup, or any of the other horse races, after all. Not that I’ve ever been to the races or had any desire to go, but the hats are something spectacular. “Wait, I’m going to what?” Jesus repeated himself. “Why would you do this to me” I asked him. “You’ve changed which gods you serve, and you have committed yourself to following me. I want you to remember that,” he said. “Come on, JC, those veils are a sign of a woman’s submission to her father or husband and I am not owned by any man.” Jesus assured me that my issues with men had nothing to do with his request.

The thing is, I already knew why Jesus was asking. I just didn’t want to do it. For the last several weeks I’ve been going through the process of getting ready to consecrate myself to Jesus through Mary, and I suppose this is one of my offerings in that process. Veiling isn’t something most people are called to do, and it’s a very personal thing, but it’s something Jesus asked me to do. I don’t think it was fair that he also sent his mama after me. For me it’s about reverence, respect, submission to Jesus and his mom, remembering where I’ve come from and what Jesus has done for me.

God is always with me, always has been with me, and his presence has always been there. However, when I deliberately enter his presence for prayer or sacraments, I’m going to veil out of love, humility, and respect. God knows I can use a little humility. Today was my first time veiling publicly. I was super self-conscious even though these people are my people and they already know I’m weird but somehow I still belong. I am loved and respected in my parish despite my less than stellar social skills.

I’m going to continue to use (extra)ordinary time to listen to and follow Jesus.

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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