I was at daily Mass yesterday in a parish at which I had never previously been present. At the sign of peace, I turned to glance over my right shoulder and saw a disheveled man standing in the back with his arms upraised and his head tilted to the left. It seemed pretty clear he was homeless by his appearance, and I wondered about him.
As we approached the altar for communion, he took the final position. I watched him receive the Body of Christ and then the Precious Blood. He was very reverent. Then he took a place in a nearby pew. He remained standing with his arms upraised, head tilted to the left, until the priest said, “Let us pray.”
I was puzzled for a few minutes by the man’s behavior and assumed he was mentally ill. He may have been, but I was missing the point until I felt a prompting within me to recognize what was so obvious, i.e., the man was assuming the posture of Jesus on the Cross high above the altar. He was uniting himself with Jesus, and he was very aware of what had just happened on that altar.
He moved me.
If only we all were so aware as was that saint.