Parallel worlds

My Patient Husband and I split the Triduum liturgies because most of them start at 7:30pm, about the same time two of our four Kiddos are shutting down for the day. This year, he got Holy Thursday and Friday stations, and I’ll take the Good Friday service. This year, our parish added Adoration after Holy Thursday, and I love Adoration. So last night, after he and Kiddo#1 returned, I went back out to the church.

For the non-Catholics, Adoration is silent prayer and contemplation in the presence of the Eucharist. Sometimes there’s incense, candles, maybe songs or group prayers, but the overwhelming majority of Adoration is silent reflection. It’s intensely personal, you and God.

I got into the church and found the choir gathered at the back, and a few people scattered toward the front. And after a minute or two I realized the choir was talking about choir business and it was very distracting.

Years ago, someone told me about her prayer group’s meditation time which was disturbed by the maintenance staff polishing the hallway floors with a machine that went “thump…thump…thump…” and afterward, everyone was annoyed except for one woman, who said, “I just told myself I was an infant nestled in the womb of God, listening to God’s heartbeat.”

Rather than getting irritated, then, which was my first thought, I reframed it. And I realized it was just like what happened back then: what if Jesus was in the Garden, afraid of all that would happen the next day, dreading it, and people were using a nearby road, laughing or talking about the logistics of getting home from Jerusalem, or talking about their mother’s cousin’s fight with her husband?

The day we found out our daughter was going to die, I drove home from the hospital in a state of shock, and as I passed an auto body shop, I saw someone working. I thought, How can someone be welding? My world just ended.

Worlds in parallel. My life, the mechanic’s life, never intersecting.

That night, on the brink of changing everything, did Jesus hear people in parallel, people going about their business, them not knowing that by the next day he’d be dead?

Would he have gotten frustrated with them? Would he have let it distract him?

Eventually they went home and it got quiet. But although I’d come for the silence, I’d also felt blessed by the noise.


  1. Normandie

    Thank you for that, Jane. In this busy, noisy world, we need to learn how to listen and hear the silence, don’t we? Parallel worlds, indeed. Finding Jesus in the midst of anger or hatred or cursing.

    1. philangelus

      Thank you. Even though the world is noisy, we can incorporate that noise into our finding-of-silence.