FROM THE RECTOR: BREAKING THE MIRROR
Not so long ago, while away from home, I got up in the middle of the night, and without turning on a light, went to get a glass of water. I was sleepy. I ran into a large full-length mirror. Fortunately, I wasn’t moving hard and fast. I stepped back, but as sleepy as I was, in the flash of a moment, I realized the first, and immediate, emotion I felt was fear of an unexpected stranger. It was instantaneous. My being, my total self, reacted to the figure of a “stranger” before I could think. It was a powerful reminder about how us human beings are hard wired, if you will, for many, many things. It also made me think about what I saw when I saw myself.
At the Noonday Office on Thursday, June 30, the reading was from Augustine’s Confessions. It was the passage that inspired this reflection from the late Aidan Kavanagh:
Conversion in Christ involves broken hearts more than changes of mind. Augustine, perhaps the most towering intellect of his day, was more moved to faith by the sight of the Church at worship and by the voice of a child singing than the confessional apologies of Ambrose or arguments against the Manichees. (The Shape of Baptism: The Rite of Christian Initiation [New York: Pueblo Publishing Company, 1974], 159-160).
Augustine ran into a mirror the day he heard a child singing, “Take it and read, take it and read” (Augustine, Confessions, trans. R.S. Pine-Coffin [New York: Penguin Books, 1979], 177). He was more than afraid of what he saw. Something changed. This happened on a day he was greatly troubled. He had walked away from his house and gone outside. That’s where he heard the child’s voice. When he returned, he picked up the book of Paul’s letters he had been reading. His eyes found this passage, “Let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:13-14). Augustine looked into the mirror, as it were, saw himself, and moved to a new place.
Paul had lost his sight when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:18). He would later use the image of a looking glass when he wrote about faith, hope and love, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood” (1 Corinthians 13.12). Even after Paul believed in Jesus, there were unanswered questions in his life, just as we carry unanswered questions in our own lives. For Paul, God’s sufficient answer to his questions was his experience of faith, hope and love which he had found these in his encounter with the Lord.
I’m not so sure why I could ever look at myself as a stranger. But then, maybe we can say, human beings have in some ways lost our sight, though in a different way than Paul. One gift we might pray to have afresh is God’s grace to see more of ourselves as he sees us. Maybe we would be a little less afraid of what is there. As Jesus said, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known” (Luke 12:2). Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Sharon, Jimmy, John, Krislea, Julia, Hema, Basil, Isaura, Maria, Lee, Donna, Robert, Timothy, Dorothy, Rolf, Dianne, Gert, and Rick; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Gene, Christine, Rob, and Mark . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 3: 1909 Mary Adelaide Mandeville; 1911 Alice Boss; 1941 Mathilde Ford; 1960 Marie Reacousia.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, July 3, The Third Sunday after Pentecost, Full summer worship schedule begins: Morning Prayer 8:30 PM, Mass 9:00 and 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evening Prayer 5:00 PM. The regular schedule will resume on Sunday, October 2, 2011 . . . Monday, July 4, Independence Day, Federal Holiday Schedule: the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM. Only the noonday services are offered. The parish office is closed . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, July 2, at 11:30 AM; Father Pace will hear confessions on July 2 at 4:00 PM. Father Pace will also hear confessions on Saturday, July 9.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Thank you to all those who were able to take time off on Thursday morning, just as the holiday weekend was beginning, to serve as ushers, hosts, altar servers, and floral designers for the Mass of the Resurrection for Carol Pepper. Your ministry and assistance were much appreciated . . . Sandro Lemos, a good friend of Saint Mary’s, known to many here at the parish as the late George Blackshire’s skilled caregiver, recently graduated from ASA College with an associate’s degree in business administration. We were happy to hear the news. We wish him well in his future endeavors, and we hope that he will be back to visit us often . . . Altar flowers are needed for the following dates: July 31, and August 5, 21 and 28. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch in the parish finance office . . . If you would like to make a donation and sponsor the reception following the Solemn Mass on Monday, August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, please contact Aaron Koch . . . Father Jay Smith will be away from the parish on vacation from Friday, July 1, until Thursday, July 28. He returns to the office on Friday, July 29 . . . Attendance: Corpus Christi Sunday 292; Peter & Paul 76.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . During the summer months the full choir is on vacation, and the music at Solemn Mass is sung by a cantor or a small group of voices. This week I will be the cantor for the service. The prelude is Allegretto from Six Short Preludes and Postludes by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924). At the ministration of communion, the motet O sacrum convivium by Frenchman André Campra (1660-1774) will be sung. Campra was born in the south of France, and maître de musique (music director) at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, after having served in a similar capacity in Arles and Toulouse. The motet was published in 1710 as part of the volume Motets à 1, 2 ou 3 voix avec la basse continue, livre premier. James Kennerley
A WOMEN’S GROUP AT SAINT MARY’S . . . You are invited to join the women of Saint Mary’s for tea to share your ideas and thoughts about how we might connect with each other. Because we’re an urban church with parishioners from all over the metropolitan area, we know that sometimes it can be a challenge to get to know each other outside of services. At this meeting, we’ll enjoy refreshments at a parishioner’s home and consider ways we can support each other and encourage fellowship. Please come and join the discussion and get to meet some new people. All are welcome, including children! Our first meeting is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, July 30, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM at a parishioner’s home in the Northwest Bronx (very convenient to public transit, parking nearby). Please contact the church office if you’d like to join us.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are still collecting non-perishable food items for our outreach partner, the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Please look for the basket at the ushers’ table near the 46th Street entrance to the church on Sunday mornings. If you have questions about the Food Pantry, please speak to Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Saturday, July 9, On Eagles Wings: Celebrating 400 years of the King James Bible. The American Bible Society (ABS), 61st Street & Broadway. At 9:00 AM: Symposium by internationally renowned King James Bible expert Dr. David Norton, and theologians Dr. Scot McKnight, Dr. Euan K. Cameron and Dr. Marlon Winedt. At 2:00 PM: premiere of the film KJB: The Book that Changed the World, a ninety-minute film documenting the creation and significance of the King James Bible, produced and directed by Norman Stone, followed by a discussion with the director. Visit the event website, www.kjb.americanbible.org/ for more details.
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector;
The Reverend James Ross Smith, curate;
The Reverend James Pace, assisting priest;
The Reverend Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, deacon;
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.
Saint Mary’s Mission House
Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B.;
Sister Laura Katharine, C.S.J.B.
The Community of St. John Baptist
The Parish Musicians
Mr. James Kennerley, organist and music director;
Mr. Lawrence Trupiano, organ curator.
The Parish Staff
Mr. Aaron Koch, business manager;
Mr. Miguel Gonzalez, Mr. Mario Martinez, Mr. H. Antonio Santiago, sextons.