For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Sunday, June 28, 2009

As If By Chance?...

On most Sundays it is next to impossible for me to go to Mass when I am working (driving my semi) out on the road. Even though I drive all over the country in the lower 48 states and bits of Canada, it is hardly worth trying to find a Catholic church with semi-truck parking because they simply don't exist. But on those rare occasions when everything works out perfectly, I find a truck stop nearby that will allow me to drop my trailer (many no longer allow this since 9-11 as they fear one loaded with explosives will level said truck stop), so I can bobtail (tractor without trailer attached) to a parking lot close enough to church and then walk to Mass. But I only do this after I go to confession to put myself in a state of grace in order to receive Holy Communion. The sacrament of Penance is usually not offered on Sundays, so the only time I ever go to Mass on the road is Saturday vigil just after confession.

So it seemed as if by pure chance that I had a load to St. Louis which delivered this morning...early... and was assigned a re-load that would pick up much later today, allowing me time to attend Mass...somewhere hopefully. And it seemed by pure chance that I was in a city whose Cathedral is one I'd been wanting to see for quite some time. Pope Paul VI referred to it as the most beautiful in the New World. After going online I found that by pure chance the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis offers the Sacrament of Penance on Sundays just before the Noon Mass.

As if by pure chance the place I delivered to has a large lot next door where I could drop my trailer, which I did, allowing me to bobtail (see above) to somewhere near the cathedral...hopefully. And as if by pure chance I-64 was closed just after Kingshighway Blvd., allowing me to exit North to Lindell blvd with no low overpasses or truck restrictions. And although there was no parking lot within view of the Cathedral that would allow semi bobtail trucks, I did find a gas station/convenience store/Laundromat with plenty of room to if by pure chance. But then I had to get permission to leave the truck there. And as if by pure chance the guy behind the plexi-glass had no problem whatsoever with the idea, so long as I got back by 2pm when the boss showed up. So I parked and walked.

The line to the confessional was long, but well worth the wait. I got in and out just in time for Mass. And as if by pure chance the celebrant of today's Mass was Bishop Hermann, who wrote a great pro-life homily in January which I posted HERE in its entirety, and who won my undying admiration last November for announcing he would be willing to die to end abortion (read that HERE). And although for some reason it didn't occur to me to take out my camera from its case and take his picture (D'Oh!) after Mass in the vestibule, I did have the presence of mind to walk up to him then and shake his hand. He seemed pleased when I told him I had posted his homily.

It was a magical start to a beautiful day. And I don't care in the least that my re-load fell through and I'm likely stuck here until tomorrow. I am still feeling the glow of this morning's events which occurred all as if by chance.... But I don't believe in chance, you see. I believe I was being led by the Spirit to find opportunities to attend Mass on the road. And since God helps those who help themselves, once I made the attempt in a direction He was pleased with He made the rest fall into place. And until you have faith in God, you will probably never understand what I'm talking about. So if you choose to count on chance (luck), coincidence, or your own abilities (*snort*) to get you through life, well,... good luck with that.

Feel free to click on the images to make them large. At 8 megapixels, they will show up in great detail.


Paul said...

I must admit that I never gave much thought to the plight of Catholic semi-drivers on the road over the weekend. But if attendance at Mass is physically impossible, I believe there is no moral stigma involved in not attending.

As for receiving Communion without going to Confession (Reconciliation) immediately beforehand, that's a matter for your own personal conscience, not--I believe--a tenet of the Catholic Church.

Had we more vocations and priests in this post-Vatican II world, I could see an opportunity for a "Catholic out-reach opportunity" for OTR drivers at truck stops on the weekends. (When I was in Viet Nam, the padres said Mass on the hoods of jeeps in the field, just like in WWII.)

Meanwhile, God bless, comfort and guide you, Matt. You remain in my prayers.

Matt said...

I might be a bit scrupulous here, but I find that when I go for weeks without attending Mass I tend to rack up a mortal sin or two, especially when I am on the road with rude and nasty 4-wheelers (and more than a few nasty 18-wheelers). And even one mortal sin on my soul would prevent me from receiving the Eucharist.

The problem these days, in addition to a lack of priests, that prevent a massive trucker outreach by the Catholic Church are some of the Protestant chapels found at truck stops who do lots of Catholic bashing. So much so to the point that many truck stops will not allow additional chapels (Catholic) on the premises for reasons of prejudice. Truckstop Ministries out of Jackson, GA comes to mind. If you want an earful about Catholic false teaching, give him a call.

Thanks for you well-wishes.