One evening, as the first Bible Study in a series concluded, Father looked at us and asked, "Now you do realize that you will be sitting in the same spots you are now, 10 weeks from now?" He wasn't assigning us seats...just commenting on the tendency of Catholics (do others do this?) to stake out their claim on a seat and stay there. He says that when he comes out of the confessional in the back of the church before weekday morning Mass, he can tell who is there just by which spaces are occupied.
It's true. For daily Mass, I sit in the "wing" on the right side. Third row from the back (or fourth from the front) on the left end of the pew...but never right on the end...I leave room for a friend. R sits two rows in front of me. Two older ladies sit right behind me. One of them fixed the tag on my shirt the other day. :-) A man who's wife sometimes comes with him sits on the same row as R, but on the far right. Etc.
But then Lent comes. And you know what that means? More people come. Father said one of his regular daily Mass goers in another parish compared them to vultures or some such thing. Sounds kind of uncharitable doesn't it? Like maybe Daily Mass wasn't having it's full effect on her. Those extra people... they aren't aware of the pre-existing seating charts.
I am always glad to see extra people during Lent. That's when I started going to Daily Mass, and I know that I discovered a great treasure there. Confession: I'm glad to see all the extra people EXCEPT the lady who sits in my spot. She was there last Lent, too. Just like a bird that's come back to the same tree to nest. Oh yeah, I'm charitable, too, aren't I? Some mornings I hurry to get out of the house sooner, so I can get there before her. God probably looks at me and says, "Really, Karen? I call you to be child-like. Not childish."
So here's the deal. I'm giving up my assigned seat for Lent. Even if I get there first. Maybe God wants me to see things from a different view point. Or maybe He just wants to nudge me out of my comfort zone in the third pew from the back. Maybe there is still room for Daily Mass to have it's "full effect" on me. "Fertile ground for redemption", I am.
UPDATE on the house: Not only was Saturday St. Joseph's feast day, but he is the patron saint of house-hunters, my younger child informed me. However, things have not worked out thus far. We can not close as quickly as they would like - and another offer that was submitted after ours was accepted. So for now, dear hubby has chosen to withdraw our offer. I'm still praying though. Trusting that God knows what is best and knowing that he has reasons for what he does, but persevering. St. Joseph...