I've never made any bones over the fact that I am a fair weather Catholic. I grew up with devoted Catholic parents who were, thankfully, liberal in most ways. I was baptized, sent to Cathechism, took First Communion. Short of going not through Confirmation and then marrying an ex-Mormon and having his babies in and out of wedlock, I'm a fairly upstanding church girl. At least that's what I tell myself.
A few years ago our parish got a new priest who I, and it turns out a majority of the congregation, despise. I'm not sure what his true name is because I alternate between calling him Father Higgins and Father Ass Hat. Higgins is the name of a friend's enormously dim Labradoodle, he's a waste of dog cells, quite possible the dumbest animal I've ever met. The Ass Hat name, well that's just plain bitchiness on my part. Anyway, this priest gives sermons that reference television shows. Every week he does this. I imagine him sitting about his priest pad, watching Thursday night prime time when it hits him, kapow, he must stick some religious words together for Sunday worshipers. Suffice it to say, his presentations are shallow and with very little spriritual fiber.
For most of the winter I skipped Mass. Partly I was working two jobs, partly I would rather stay home and clean than go hear Father A.H. spew his lack of knowledge to the congregation. But this past Sunday I was feeling jaunty and pure so I decided to accompany my mom and endure the fool on the pulpit. Luck would have it, or maybe God was smiling upon us, Father Higgins was out of town and we had a guest priest who actually had some lovely words of wisdom.
So we listened, sang, kneeled and then it was time for Communion. I lined up behind my mom and approached the alter with pure heart when the realization hit me: there's gluten in them there hosts and due to a food elimination thing Matt and I had started the night before, booze was no longer on my lists of can do's. Shitter. I couldn't just turn around, I was out of the pew with three more rows lining up behind me. I couldn't walk by and snub the offerings, that would be a faux pas. Before I knew it I was up and had no choice but to extend my palms and accept the body of JC.
Now, my reaction to gluten is pretty harsh. There are the red rash/hives that appear around my neck and face. There's the swelling of my throat, not breathing is no fun. Then there's the bloat and gas, perhaps the worst of all the effects for people around me. I couldn't eat the damn thing. Couldn't give it back. Couldn't turn to the person behind me and say, "Oops, I got an extra. Fancy a body wafer?" No. So I did what I had to and pocketed it. I know that like Superman, The Holy Trinity have X-Ray vision and totally saw the glowing wafer in my pocket. I also know they gathered in a huddle and made notes next to my name in their gaint Who's Who books.
After Mass my mother asked why I went to Communion and again I choked, I confessed my sin. She was all in a bind that between us in the car a bit of Jesus was riding shot gun in my pocket. Her instinct was to turn around and tell the priest. Mine, of course, was to cover it up. I assured I'd take care of it respectfully. And I did. After careful thought I buried it the planter of my hibiscus plant. That poor thing deserves to be in the tropics of Hawaii and is instead stuck on the confines of Matt's hot, dry deck. My thinking is that the plant could use a boost o' Sweet Baby J.
The next day my mother inquired about the host, apparently she'd been fretting over it. I told her not to worry, I'd taken care of things but that it was between Jesus and me. That didn't go over so well. But deep down I feared that if I told her the actual location of the waifer, she'd sneak down in the night and dig it up and take back to the church. But then again, maybe I lack faith.