Day 128: Mother's Day: There is a marble engraving of a Madonna around the corner from our apartment, at Notre Dame De Consolata church, whose steeple I can see from my back balcony, above the railings and pigeons and children playing elastic skipping. The church bells grace our streets too, and though I deplore many things about the organization behind that church, I am surprised at how I feel about that marble engraving, which has an offering of beautiful flowers at its base whenever the weather is warm enough for fresh flowers. Yesterday a wedding party gathered and the newlyweds kissed passionately as buses and pedestrians rushed by. Today I was alone in the morning and I decided to sneak into the back pew just to enjoy the incense and candles of the Mother's Day service.
To my astonishment the service was not in Italian or French, but in English. The priest was very good at reading from the scripture - he was so passionate and well-spoken I felt surprised so many people near me in the back were talking among themselves and paying him no attention. I listened to him - it was a beautiful talk, based on the story of Jesus' appearance to his disciples after the resurrection, when they did not recognize him until he broke bread - then they knew who he was. What kind of friends wouldn't recognize the man they had known so intimately, I wondered, as I have always wondered about that story. There's a great big hole in that story - you'd recognize your friend anywhere if he came to see you on the road, wouldn't you? Something is trying to get through that hole in the story, but I'm not the one who knows what that mystery is. All I know is that I love how someone places gladioli and roses at the feet of that madonna on the street, and I love the word Consolata - the idea of the Madonna as one who consoles.