I smell the wax burning. The purity of bees’ wax calms me. I recall that as a small cian, I sat by the fire during the long winter months, and shivered as the wind spoke to the clouds in loud gusts. The flames of the oetseira comforted me then. Now the candle’s flames remind me we do not walk alone on the earth. The Spirit is here with me.
I cannot see well. Since I was four, the sight I lost to small pox has defined me, but here inside this chapel waiting for Mass to begin, I am only defined by what I believe. I believe in Jesus Christ present in the bread on the altar. Kateri, I say to myself, you don’t matter. He matters. The God Who gave you life matters. It doesn’t matter that Mama and Papa went to heaven first. You are going to see them again. It does not matter that you are Mohawk and Algonquin in the same way it does not matter if the priest is French. We are one in this Mass. We are children of God. It does not matter if I cannot see and my face is marked by pox marks. My soul has the mark of baptism.
Just as the rivers flow and the birds make nests, so too the soul finds its purpose in the Mass. All my life I wondered why Mama was Catholic, and why Uncle who raised me hated it. Finally, Uncle forgave God for taking them to heaven.
Oh, Father in heaven, Eternal One, please bless my uncle who raised me. Help him to see what is hidden. Lord, ruler of the sky and stars, make us full of awe at your work. Nature is your gift to us. Cast out all doubt. We are all the children of God. Do not let fear overcome the converting heart. Let us all come before you and worship. Amen.
I wait for the bell to ring to signal the beginning of the Mass. I await my Lord who will take the place of the bread and wine. I hope in God’s plan for me. If God takes me to heaven soon, I will rejoice. If God lets me walk the earth for many days and years, I will rejoice. For whatever pleases God pleases me.
With affection Uncle calls me Kateri Tekakwitha since I bump into things. But as I approach the altar, I call myself Catherine. I give myself to God. True happiness is found in Christ and no one shall take that away from me.