Sunday, October 21, 2012

One of the "Thin Places"

A Mountaintop Wedding

It happened on a mountain top in West Virginia. There was a pretty bride and a handsome groom and there was the dog, "Macie", bedecked with a specially made collar and leash. There was laughter and a few tears. It was cold on the mountain top in October, just yesterday. But we warmed ourselves with jackets, blankets, good humor and gracious affection. We were all friends and family. And of course, my wife and I were there too. A priest and his bride.

We decked out the altar as for a wedding. It was beautiful. There was a special hand made chalice and paten. The flowers gave a special accent to our joy.

Then came the procession, the traditional words of greeting; "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together, here in the sight of God, etc." The Declaration of Consent, presentation, and collect were followed by the readings and the Gospel. The priest gave a greeting, and an inner warmth filled us to the brim.

At the Eucharist, there came a moment when I elevated the chalice to heaven. I said the sacred words; "And when he had given thanks to you", I looked up to heaven and it was as if we were transported in an instant to eternity. White and darkened wisps of layered clouds whisked by in the wind, and there behind them there broke a sky as blue as azure. 

Time stood still for an instant. It seemed to take my breath away, but I continued on as I have for every Eucharist I've said a thousand times before. But this time there was something different. Folks said that as they looked behind me, the sun broke through the clouds just then, and the sight transfixed us all.

The moment came and then the moment went by. 

It was on the mountain top.

It was in West Virginia among some of the best of friends. I searched for a way to describe the feeling when it then came to me. 

This is what the Old Celts called "A Thin Place". It is where you may come to touch the Presence, or more correctly, where the Presence will come to touch you.

We rejoiced. We made our way back to our cars but as we did, gratitude filled our hearts to the brim. 

My heart sang an old Irish hymn; "And O what transport of delight, from Thy pure chalice floweth".

And so it was. 

And so too may you be filled with all the fullness of God.

Fr. Paul


Maggid said...

Thank you very much for sharing this moment with all of us.
Love & Love,

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

Thank you Maggid. As I move on through life, I give my best efforts to the gifts I have been given. This thing called "priestcraft" is real. I apply myself to it with all my heart and soul and mind. It is gratifying to be given the time and the life to do it.
Peace to you,
Fr. Paul

Anonymous said...


"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

Hi Big Marilyn,
It was so good to see you. Next time, more stories of Pat and Mike!

Anonymous said...

Hi Father Paul, It was good to see you and Cindy again. Thank you for not rushing through that wedding ceremony just because it was a little cold. I am working on a poem trying to capture the moments of that day. Blessings to you both. norma and bud

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

Hi Norma & But. What a treat it was to see you too. I am so eager to read your poem. Funny that once the service started, I was completely unaware of the temperature and the winds, just the indwelling spirit of God and the Spirit's breath. Peace to you both.
Fr Paul

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

Good heavens...what a nasty typo.
Bud, you have always been kind to me. I am sorry for that faux pas of the finger.
Fr Paul