Thursday, October 1, 2009

Because She is Love, I am One Voice

In the Office of Readings today we learn how Thérèse of Lisieux came to understand her vocation: She realized that she was too insignificant to be an apostle, prophet, teacher, or martyr. Instead, she realized, "My call is love." This leads to a question: In the great body of the Church, what, Lord, am I?

It's a matter of "knowing one's place," isn't it? As a recent convert, I realize sometimes that (a) my place is near the back of the line, but also that (b) people will see or hear me precisely because I'm a convert at the back of the line. We know this: converts can be very inspiring to cradle Catholics.

But while I'm standing here in line, what, Lord, should I be doing? Giving speeches? Handing out food? Caring for the sick? If I know myself and my talents, such as they are, I'm pretty sure I know what I should be doing. I should be singing.

I have always loved to sing, and when fellow parishioner Nancy Patch invited me to join the choir this summer at St. Mary Star of the Sea, I jumped at the chance. I can read music, sort of, not the way Fred, our choirmaster, can read, not even the way a good sight singer can read. But I can find my way around a clef, with or without accidentals.

I used to stand beside my father and mother in the Episcopal Church, where the hymns were always written out in four parts (I wish our Catholic hymnal had parts), and I would muddle my way through the tenor line until about age fourteen, then after that the bass line. And I loved hearing how my voice, when on pitch, blended with the melody.

This is what I love about singing in the St. Mary's choir. Not being a soloist, heaven forbid, my voice just isn't sweet enough, but blending, riding the wave of the basses behind me, and adding just a bit of water, or maybe sometimes oil, to the wave. The few times I've sung with the choir so far have been joyous times, adding my voice to the heavenly chorus (the choir loft is very high), and feeling the church fill with our harmonies. Of course, having a choirmaster like Fred makes a big difference.

Today, on the feast of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, this seems to me a good way of looking at this blog—another place, a tiny niche, within the great body of the Church, where I can make my small contribution. There are many kinds of bloggers, I already know this, after just six weeks. In the Catholic blogosphere, there are great prophets and prophetesses, like Elizabeth over at The Anchoress, and there are teachers, like Greg at The Deacon's Bench and Rocco at Whispers in the Loggia. There are some wonderful Catholic-mother blogs, like Blessed Among Men and Minnesota Mom. None of these "parts" suits me.

I'm happy being down at the lower end of the register, riding the wave of basses stronger than I am. Let my sound be only harmonious, Lord. Let it help fill out the heavenly harmony, filling your Church with hymns of praise.

Now, off to North Carolina, to see my daughter!