If you'll allow me a moment of dorky liturgical self congratulation, I would like to announce that last Sunday, I made it through the Mass without even glancing at the cheat sheet! Yep, I even remembered to say, " for our good and the good of all His Holy Church," which is an especially sneaky passage because it's 99% the same as it was before, and lulls you into a false sense of familiarity -- and then BAM, "all his Holy Church."
We all know that the main reason we go to Mass is winning the liturgy -- much like the two robbers in Freddy the Detective, who are having a contest (one singing, one on the harmonium) to see who can get through the song first without skipping anything. I'm the one who refuses to try "Boola Boola," because the other guy always leaves out at least six "boolas."
Anyway, even if I can remember the "new" (original) words easily, they still sound fresh to me. One phrase that especially stands out is in Eucharistic Prayer II: "Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall…"
I understand that this phrase sounds contrived or overly flowery to some ears. But since I've very unwillingly become an early riser, I have to admit that there is nothing like the dewfall.
It covers absolutely everything. I'm not a thorough person, in general. So it impress the heck out of me when the dew manages to reach each and every blade of grass, piece of clover, twig, sleeping caterpillar, Hotwheels car, dead leaf, bottle cap, pebble and furled up fern that happens to be outdoors -- every single one, for miles and miles. All those tiny drops! If it's there, the dew is going to cover it. And it doesn't just use broad brush strokes, either, but delicately paves every square inch of the morning world unstintingly with numberless little half-globes, each one quietly showing back to morning its very own miniature sky.
That is how the dewfall is like the coming of the Holy Spirit: unstinting. Indiscriminate, in the best way. Tirelessly thorough. It graces things that are lovely, and clearly working in cooperation with all that is good, true, and beautiful, and it showers just as much loving mercy on the unlovely and the weird.
It nourishes us and keeps us alive until the next downpour comes.
Have you thought about where all the dew goes when the first freshness of morning is gone? Of course we know it evaporates -- rises up in the air as the day warms up, until it becomes clouds high above us. But not all of it! Some lingers. There is almost always water vapor in the air, especially if there are a lot of people, hanging around, breathing! This is why, when you fill a glass with ice water, little drops will appear on the outside of the glass: it's the gaseous water vapor that's already in the air. The chill makes it turn back into water, and voila: visible drops. It was there all along, just waiting for you to make yourself available.
This is something I try to remember when I am, well, cold. When I am discouraged, or tired, or feeling alone, or hopeless, or helpless. The breath of the Holy Spirit is all around me. It wants to cling, to refresh, to nourish -- and to help us reflect back to the world our little portion of light.