Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mass in Spanish

I took three years of spanish in high school (well technically two - year one was in middle school), and I remember approximately 0.17503% of it. A little came floating back to me when I went to El Salvador for a week sophomore year of college, but it didn't last much longer than that. (Though I did think a girl said "I cheese you" instead of "I love you." Whatever "queso" & "quiero" sound the same.)

My mom, sister, and I were in Mexico on a Sunday, which meant venturing into town for Mass. I was really excited about this. I wanted to see where the people of Puerto Morales worshiped and how they engaged in the Mass. I was looking forward to what I love the most about the Catholic Church - the universality of it. No matter the language, the Mass is the same. Jesus is always present. 

They were kind enough to have the first and second readings in Spanish and English (which my sister and I somehow got roped into reading - worst), but that was it.

As the Mass continued, I tried to focus on the externals and the fact that even though I couldn't understand what they were saying, I knew that Jesus was truly present in that place, so it didn't matter that I didn't really know what they were saying.

In the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer I noticed that whenever the priest or congregation addressed Jesus in prayer, they used the word "tú" for you. A tiny amount of Spanish came floating back to me. Tú is the pronoun you use when you are talking to someone informally, like a friend or an equal. Usted is the pronoun you use when you are speaking to someone in a position of authority, someone you respect, or someone you don't know well.

When you pray in Spanish, you don't address Jesus as a formal, far off figure, you address him as a friend. How beautiful. 

In the midst of Holy Week, I am grateful for simple reminder that Jesus is my friend, someone who chooses to come down to my level, so I can speak to Him freely and without reserve.

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