Author Unknown; submitted by Gabrielle Dean

I tried to catch your attention this morning. Remember when you came back to your seat and closed your eyes and put your head down and talked and talked to me? I wanted you to listen. I wanted you to open your eyes and look at my broken body all around you. I tried to catch your attention that time your toddler stood on the seat and spoke to you, but gave me a dirty look, told me to get down and didn’t listen.

I was the unmarried mother at the end of your seat, the old man in front of you, the family of seven children across the aisle from you and I had the impression you disapproved of me. I was the woman in the green coat whose husband left this week and whose heart was being eaten out right through the Eucharist, and a friendly smile or word would have been a little support for me.

I am your wife who cooked and prepared and coped with the children and all the burdens of the house while you read the Sunday newspaper and then went out.

I am your husband and your children as you stamped and huffed and gave us your cold silent treatment for three and a half long hours after Mass, that blackened and deadened the whole atmosphere of home.

I am your father and mother, as you have ignored and mocked and criticised and tormented as only a teenager knows how.

I am your teenage son whom you’ve lost belief in, and your nagging is driving me crazy.

I am your next-door-neighbour whom you meet every day in the street and ignore, busy about your own concerns.

And it sickens me, all the coldness, all the squabbling and division and those endless running battles that scourge me and crown me with thorns. And then you pierce my side at the Eucharist with your empty words of love. If you love me feed my sheep, my starving sheep. And start in your own home.

Please don’t keep me at bay any longer. Don’t talk to me. Listen! I don’t want you to go on loving my spirit and ignoring my body. I don’t want you to open your mouth and receive my body and close your eyes and ears to shut it out. Stop thinking of me as just a spiritual being in the skies. I am one with these people and you cannot ignore them and own me.

On the last day I won’t ask you how many times you attended Eucharist: that is not holiness. I will ask you how your neighbours and family fared, how your spouse and children grew in love and faith. How did they live the Eucharist? How did you spread your love across your neighbours? How did you celebrate that love and communion at church on Sundays?

Please listen! Open your eyes and ears. And make time.

Page Updated October 25, 2020