Sunday, June 29, 2014

Praying with the Ethiopians again

This morning there were two young women in their white shämma over their regular clothes on the steps of the church across the street; one standing, her head bent against one of the doors, the other on a lower step, slightly bent with her one hand on the wall of the church.  I bowed, thinking the Eucharistic prayer was being said.  Another man came up and did three prostrations, removed his shoes, and entered.  In a short time, the two young women left.  I wondered if they were penitents, because they never went in.  Another young man came and knelt down on the steps, kissed the threshold, and prayed bowed over for awhile, and then left.

I thought of Mary of Egypt, praying outside the church in Jerusalem - it was outside the church, making her reverences to the icon of Our Lady, that her conversion was effected.  The people today - as on every weekend, make profound reverent bows, even before entering the church.  It reminds me of the psalm: "I rejoiced when I heard them say - let us go to God's house!  Even now our feet are standing withing your gates!"  And the other psalm, "even the sparrow herself finds a home... one day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  I would rather lie abject on the threshold of the house of God than dwell in the tents of the wicked ..."

My heart overflows with a goodly theme .

I began my morning prayer so deeply recollected ...  It is like having a tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament right across the street from me.

Later in the day I tried to find out more about them.  Sadly, from what I came across online, there seems to be division among Ethiopian Orthodox as well.  I decided not to look too closely, to simply pray with them and for them and allow myself to be edified by the good I see.

I will try to do that with our Church as well - hoping the Catholic Church restores greater reverence for the Eucharist.  One thing the Ethiopians have is great reverence for the House of God and the Mass.  Those who do not go in may not be able to - for some reason - they do not claim a right to enter, they do not claim a right to receive communion - yet they come and pray.  They seem to have great faith.

I continue my prayer - with them and for them - and for us.

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