Tuesday, October 06, 2009
No Time to Say Hello, Good-bye!
I've always enjoyed that rabbit in the Walt Disney version of "Alice in Wonderland" and his little song about being late, late, for a very important date.
I am an on time freakazoid.
I know this because one of the seventh grade boys told me so. Although, I wouldn't have come up with the term "freakazoid", I do have a 'thing' about being on time.
I'm kind of happy about this word "freadazoid", though, because it explains my uber awareness of punctuality. Nuns are punctual people. It just goes hand in hand with obedience and humility, that you show up on time so that other people don't have to waste their time idly waiting for you.
Now add to that, my mother who raised me was raised by nuns! Imagine how punctual I am!
When I was small, my mother didn't drive and we often had to rely on others to give us a lift, like Amish people.
That was a little joke. There are some sort of Amish people around the area where I grew up and they don't have phones or cars but they are happy to use your phone and have you give them a lift.
And we are happy to oblige.
At any rate, my mother would have us sitting there like little soldiers a full half hour before the ride was due and even then when the ride arrived we had to dash out the door so as not to keep them waiting for a millisecond or give them a moment's pause.
To this day, "on time" to me means at least 15 minutes early.
So you can imagine my reaction to today's question from a reader:
Okay, I have a saint-matching challenge for you! Every Monday night before choir practice we pray as a group (of course!) and we end with asking St. Joseph (our patron) and St. Cecilia to pray for us. Last night, in reaction to all the empty seats at start time, the director asked, "Who's the patron saint of tardy people?" Sister, who is the patron saint of the chronically late...or the perpetually prompt for that matter? Is there someone who could intercede on our behalf and get the alto section to rehearsal on time?
I think I have sucked all the air out of the room.
Are all the altos coming together in one car?
There is a patron saint for promptness but sadly, he didn't exist. Have you heard the story of St. Expeditus? Have I told it? Yes, I have.
So, I'm not so keen on him. St. Handlewithcare. St. Thissideup.
If I were you, I'd go with one of those strict disciplinarian types. You know the kind I mean. The guys who came in to 'clean up the town'. Some friar or priest who took one look at the shabby, lazy state of the local monastery and laid down the law.
St. Benedict. As in "The Rule of St. Benedict". He's your man. His rules are still directing religious life after 15 centuries. He was so strict the other monks tried to poison him.
That's pretty strict.
I might add, however, that it may be more than a simple inability to get out the door on time with these folks. We can't be sure. We can't accuse.
They might just be trying to skip out on the prayer part of choir practice, figuring, "I'll pray on my own in the car on the way there and that way I still have time for dessert after dinner." Although, anyone in their right mind would be saying to themselves, "I'll tell the family I can't be a second late for choir practice and then I can skip out on doing the dishes." That would be the smart move.
Anyhow, you might think about a saint who had an issue with praying. St. Hyacinth is relatively obscure, but she was a pistol for a while there. Hyacinth had her heart set on a beau who chose her younger sister to marry. Poor Hyacinth was so chagrined that she joined the convent, not because she had any calling of any sort, but just to hide her embarrassment. There, she had a fancy room and a really expensive habit made of the finest fabrics. She had people call on her and give her money.
Still, through it all she was actually a woman of faith, and one day when her confessor actually got a load of the room she had set up for herself, he mentioned to her that perhaps she ought to dial it back a bit.
Hyacinth saw the light and dialed back to minus zero. She got rid of everything, wore an old habit and no shoes. She fasted and prayed and performed such mortifications of the flesh that her first miracle was that she was still alive.
She might be a good one for you.