Sister Mary Aimee. That is what my parents called me growing up, owing mainly to the fact that I set up a prayer corner in my bedroom with the little cut-out sections from my Religion book. I guess this was not typical behavior, and I think I scared my parents a bit.
Raised in Catholic schools, I spent many a Wednesday morning at mass. We would line up in our uniforms and walk a block or two (oh, glorious freedom!) to the Church for weekly mass. Anyone familiar with the Catholic Mass knows it to be a beautiful, sensory experience. The incense, the candles, the Holy Water, the bells ringing at Communion. To be sure, a lot of the beauty went over-my-head at the time, but looking back, I see the delicately ordered worship as a masterpiece.
There was one particular part of the Mass that never made sense to my elementary-aged self: the kneeling. Up and down, up and down. It felt like an eternity that we were supposed to be still on those little red-cushioned kneelers. No matter how hard I tried to focus on what was happening, all I could focus on were my knees. I longed to be an older lady or a kid with a cast, because they were exempt from the kneeling exercises.
Since high school, I have attended various Protestant churches. As a mother of three squirmy boys, part of me is relieved to not have to corral six antsy little knees unto a small balance beam. Yet I actually find another part of myself missing the Catholic calisthenics. There is something to be said for body position, for the way we posture ourselves before God.
Every Christmas, I ask God to give me new insight into the story that tends to become commonplace in my heart. Then I try to write a poem as an act of adoration. This year, the Lord had my mind and heart on Mary and her lifelong posture before God.
The Bible says that one day we will see God as He actually is and that our innate response to His presence and beauty will be to kneel in submission. I long to practice that posture for a lifetime so that when that day comes, the posture of my body will fit the posture of my life. Lord, give us grace to learn now to kneel.