Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Just one of those things.

One of the weird things about being a man in the U.S.A. (an Anglo nation, by history and culture) with Mediterranean genes is that many of the aspects considered definitional of manhood are not quite the same.

In my youth (Father William replied to his son) I had a roomate at Very Big Deep South University; said roomie was an Italian guy from* New Joisey and many of the cultural things which we shared were seen as Mighty Strange by the southern students of said University. Things like a guy kissing his dad.

That sort of stuff.

The point I'm driving at is that having this somewhat different outlook on masculinity doesn't always come into play. The "machismo" end of it isn't all that relevant all that often and neither is its traveling companion, what I call the Mediterranean Reservoir that is our tear ducts.

Whereas your average guy from Mississippi might view (in PGW's words) "the not unmanly tear" with grave suspicion on this side, it's just a thing, albeit one so rare that it doesn't really garner much thought. (Tough guy Paul Sorvino bawling when his daughter won an Oscar is a perfectly legitimate example.)

In my case, this happened yesterday. Immediately after 8am Mass, I stayed behind to pray. A group of Ladies of a Certain Age always gather after 8am Mass to pray the Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy. I like lingering and listening to them, their voices, softened by time and trial echo gently throughout the marbled space of the church, and it reminds me of my own Grandmother praying for me when I was little and sick. (To this day, I hold that grandmothers praying the Rosary in Spanish -- maybe also Italian, possibly Latin -- is the sound of angels.)

Anyway, between my own prayers and the echo and their soft tones, I couldn't actually make out what they were saying. As I moved out towards the front to exit, I caught what they were saying. They had reached the part of their prayers where they were praying for specific things and the first thing I heard them pray for was (in Spanish) "For all those children with autism, and for their parents."

I can't even type it without my eyes misting over as it is.

Communion of saints indeed.

-J.

* As it turns out, he was also Jesuit-educated.