Confession: I’ve said I love the number 7 as my lucky number, but I always kinda loved 13 as much or more and claim it as my luckiest number. That does not mean, given all the baggage – historical, cultural, social, etc. – that goes with that number that I don’t have some dread about 13th floors, Friday the 13th and so on. (Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th part 2, the first of the series I watched, nearly terrified me off horror movies for good.)
Where I am sitting at this moment it’s still Friday, October 13 , and that fact made me forget how I was feeling and drag myself to a church this afternoon. The reasons why I love 13 have to do with my faith orientation. (Something I post about occasionally on this blog, not to proselytize or snare anybody’s soul, but because it is part of the make-up of me, as is my Caribbean/Saint Lucian identity, immigrant status, Daniel/family genes, etc.)
I walked in with a friend and a bas-relief of Jesus and his 12 apostles (13 people) greeted us at the entrance. A bit further into the church and there was a statue of Saint Anthony, whose feast day is June 13 and whom I have a particular devotion to. (Yep: I devoured Greek mythology, over-consumed African folk tales and Caribbean oral literature growing up and I now like a lot of the Catholic mythology.) Anyway, the draw of church today was this October 13 being the 100th anniversary of the last Fatima apparition and the Miracle of the Sun – an event that the recorded newspaper accounts and other histories can sway a stubborn mind to the side of believing these eyewitness reports have more to them then mere group histrionics or mass hysteria.
I know, this is not your typical Friday night post, but my mood is light and happy, as if I was enjoying a night out on the town. It has something to do with going to confession. I thought I had a burden of bad things to put down, in this essentially free and confidential spiritual therapy-like sessions. I am always bowled over by the gentleness, kindness, compassion and genuine caring, non-judgmental nature of the priests I encounter in the confessional. So my latest confessor, hearing all the bad things I have done, cut me short with a finger wagging and a sharp, “Listen to me, you’re being too hard on yourself.” And for my penance asked me to go read Psalm 103 (you’ll find a 13 in there somewhere if you look hard enough). I just found it so beautiful, so consoling reading this that I had to share. In case someone else will find it soothing.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
Update, Saturday the 14th: Note that ‘fear’ here does not mean bone trembling terror but awe, respect, reverence, and such like.
Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in this day of battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
More info about this ancient and popular prayer.
In early June former FBI director James Comey’s use of the word “Lordy” had that term trending on Twitter and lots of Lordy meme’s popping up on social media. At the time I was sure there was an old song from my girlhood with that word in the title; I had memories of singing “Oh Lordy” frequently, loudly and heartily whenever the song played on radio. Unfortunately, many Google and YouTube searches later, I could not find my “Oh Lordy” song. Until, a little brainwave made me use the only fragment of the lyrics I could remember as my search term — and what do you know, Volare had somehow become Oh Lordy to my young ears, an error that had gone uncorrected all these years.
There is a way we can leave all the shadows behind us.
A Prayer in Time of Trouble
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, make us remember, when the world is cold and dreary, and we know not where to turn for comfort, that there is always one spot bright and cheerful–the Sanctuary. When we are in desolation of spirit, when all who are dear to us have passed away, like summer flowers, and none are left to us or care for us, whisper to our troubled souls that there is one friend who dies not, one whose love never changes, the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the altar.
When sorrows thicken and crush us with their burden, when we look in vain for comfort, let your dear words come forth with full force from the Tabernacle: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you.”
Would that we could realize the pure happiness of possessing your sympathy. Would that we could feel–when we are crushed and humbled, when the hope we have lived for has withered, when sorrows and trials that we dare not reveal to any, make our souls sink well nigh unto death, when we look in vain for someone to understand us, one who will enter into out miseries, make us remember that there in one on the Altar who knows every fibre of our hearts, every sorrow, every pain special to our peculiar natures, and who deeply sympathizes with us.
Compassionate Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us; have mercy on us; have mercy on us.
Note: I intended to post this prayer on the Feast of the Sacred Heart but life got in the way.
I think the ongoing courtroom saga of another (once?) elder statesman actor made My Mind drift – comparatively – to Sir Sidney Poitier and of course, with that came flashbacks to “To Sir With Love.”
If you wanted the moon
I would try to make a start
But I would rather you let me give my heart
To Sir, with love
That means you are getting older by the minute. And wiser. And remembering things, as this poems makes you do.