It's been a long Lent!! I can't wait to break my penaces this Sunday, especially my music one, I've been eating a fair bit of chocolate lately because so many people have offered.
I've learnt to patiently accept these too. I ended getting frustrated with Dad over him offering it all the time (I think I was mainly upset that he wasn't participating too). After talking a priest from the Ukarnian Rite, who has to abstain twice a week, and who told me to offer it up (which is so true, because I want to peacefully abstain, but God's put me in a position where I have to be gracious to those living outside the faith). All was well with Dad after that, he even apologised and said he'd stop offering, it didn't last long because he'd forgotten within a week, but I hesitated the least possible and accepted the chocolate. I need to be a little less obsessed with rules, and more with loving people.
Two weeks ago I got an up-close encounter with Cardinal Pell. I was sitting with my friend away from the crowd after Stations of the Cross lead by His Eminence. I was eating my soup just chatting and suddenly the Cardinal appears towering above us and politely asks if he can join us. He slowly lowered himself on the bench next to my friend (who already knows him from a dinner he'd attended at the Cardinals house), he seems to be getting old, I felt so sorry for him, especially a man as tall as him. I noticed he couldn't even genuflect, doing it only once before leaving the church.
I immediately tried to think of something to say. 'that poem was beautiful, I got a little teary' I hoped my half-laugh didn't make it sound it I was starting again. He said he was quite moved aswell, and mentioned he wasn't sure if the poet was Australia. I said, probably not since our poems are usually about the bush.
We talk about Scottish politics then sat in silence for a time while I tested to think of something to say. What to say to him? How was Rome? I asked if he was going to be joining us at the day of the unborn. He said no, unfornately he'd be out at St Charles in Ryde I mentioned that's where Ali live, but I rarely visit my parish church. He ask I was from originally, I said Lismore, with Bishop Jarrett, bragging a little, he asked what I do, I told him about the bookkeeping job. 'it's a pretty boring job'
'you don't like it?'
'oh well, yes, its like doing a puzzle everyday. Although I told my boss and he said 'wait till the suppliers know you'"
My friend laughed, while the Cardinal sort of pondered it.
Someone came over and got their candle blessed, we spoke some more about euthanasia in Europe and the normalisation of homosexuality. Eventually he excused himself and I noticed he hung around until only a small group of young people remained. He's a very quiet man, I wish he'd said more, my old bishop would've filled up the space nicely with weird and interesting facts. It's a good reminder that not all bishops are the same. But I really do get the sense that he's a good and kind man. I was star struck for days after meeting him.
Tonight is the Easter Vigil of course. I'm really excited, Im going to St Mary's Cathedral, very early too to get in the nosebleed section. If Maudy Thursday was anything to go by, it should be a beautiful liturgy!