I’ve never developed indigestion, either, but I will say I’ve had to chew a few pretty vigorously. Here’s the story:
When I became a postulant in the priesthood process, one person in my parish was very insistent that I be added to the prayer list. That was what they did in her previous parish when she lived in Alabama.
I wanted nothing to do with that. Now, mind you, it wasn’t like a resistance to being prayed for, I’m good with that. It was simply that I felt it was too much attention to my formation process. I was much happier being formed under the radar. I am a very private person despite the fact I’m pretty active on social media. I am a bit of an ascetic. I often joke that I have more in common with the Desert Fathers and Mothers than I do with the average church person. But the truth is, I don’t want people to know just how awkward I am at times. I suppose I prefer to look like I have, as they say, “my poop in a group.” (the socially acceptable way to say I have my #$%& together, LOL.)
I was able to keep this out of our Prayers of the People for a few months, but eventually this person was persistent, so I reluctantly relented. But imagine my horror when the bulletin read:
“We pray for Maria, during her time as a postulant as she continues her learning and formation through study and clinical pastoral education.”
I gasped. It was Just. Too. Long. And it was Just. Too. Much. Attention. I protested to our priest. “My God, the Presiding Bishop doesn’t get this much column space!”
“The Bishop didn’t come from this parish,” was her reply. “And people are never going to learn how to support someone in process if you don’t let them do it.” I was given the option to cancel it, but again, I reluctantly went along with it.
Well, I’m eating those words.
Here is what I posted to Facebook:
I don’t think all those texts would have necessarily happened had it not been for our change on the prayer list. Oh, maybe one or two would have. Teaching a parish to love one another is important. I admit I am reluctant to be the recipient of love–I’d much rather be the giver–but that is about control. When I am the giver, I get to control the environment a little. When I am the recipient, I am not always in control. Yet I am reminded it creates a teaching environment, and as a lover of both teaching and learning, I need to accept that better.