The Other End of Sunset

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The priest man always rings twice

I was thinking about mass today. No, not “mass” like Force divided by acceleration. “Mass” as in “the body and blood “ mass.

Mass as in “Am I allowed to go to mass anymore, with my history”?

I'm fairly religious, surprisingly enough. In fact, I was almost a priest.

Stop laughing, it’s not polite.


Just because you think I'm a freak, doesn’t mean that I wasn’t once almost a priest.

My first “real” priest was a guy who wasn’t much older than I was – I was in college at the time. I liked him. I understood him – kind of.

He was in college, a fairly religious sort, when he decided to become a priest. His girlfriend (yup, had a girlfriend, nope, no little boys!) went on vacation, and he went on a religious retreat. At this retreat he decided to be a priest. When his girlfriend came back, he told her, and she said “oh, it’s ok honey, you just missed me!”

It must feel weird to be the significant other of a just-announced priest. Wouldn’t you wonder if you were just THAT bad a lover? Dude, you are such an awful lay that you made your lover become celibate! I mean, rationally, you know that’s not the case, but wouldn’t you wonder? I'm pretty sure I would.

I guess there’s an alternative read as well – “honey, you are such an awesome lover that nobody can ever come close. That is, nobody but God. I'm becoming a nun.”

But that feels a little unlikely, so I'd probably go for the former explanation first.

Anyway, I was thinking about the weirdness that is mass – like, did you ever wonder about the punctuation in the things the priests say? “I give you peace, my peace, I give you.” Is that one person speaking, or two? If it’s one, the guy is a little redundant. If it’s two, who are they?

And then, there’s the strangeness of Catholic mass. We believe in transubstantiation. That’s a big word, eh? I guess that means that the wafers become the body of Christ.

I guess that makes us cannibals? And, for completeness, the wine? Yup, blood. Vampiric cannibals, I guess.

And what’s with the fish? Not a clue.

Why am I talking about transubstantiation? Well, I have no idea. But there’s an odd side effect of it. If you take wafers out, and you do the magic blessing over them, they are the body of Christ. And it just ain’t nice to throw Christ in the garbage. I mean, really, he died with a few nails through his wrists, I'd bet that smarted a bit.

// Side note, I'm watching House. The patient has Celiac’s. Just like me. Dude, I could have been on House, I could have been a contender! Back to my Catholicism… //

So, anyway, once the wafers come out, and get blessed, you can’t put them away. They have to get eaten.

But it turns out you can eat more than one. Like, say, if you are the Priest at a noon mass, and you pull too many. What do you do?

I was at mass one day, and walked to the front of the line to get communion, and the priest – this crusty old guy with a slight speech impediment and a significant love of alcohol – told me “we got too many out. Take a handful.”

So I grabbed like 20 or so. Yup, a fistful of Christ. Kinda like a spaghetti western, but no Clint Eastwood.

And then I chowed down. Chews for Jesus, as it were.

I felt like I'd been transformed. But at least we got rid of all the wafers.

Wafers are made from wheat. I can’t eat wheat. I guess it’s a good thing I haven’t gone to mass lately.