I feel like I’m eavesdropping in Gethsemane,
when I tiptoe into the parish chapel
after dark. A lone Catholic kneels
directly before the monstrance,
before the Eucharist within,
before Christ.
I sit off to the side,
because it feels appropriately subordinate—
safely apart
like an overflow room.

My thoughts wander.
I think a lot about waste.
Wasted opportunities.
Wasted summers.
My wasting.

The chapel walls hold violence.
Everywhere I turn here, there’s a cross—
many of them occupied.
Wasted messiahs?
Wasted bread?
Oops.
I tracked some of my day’s anger
into the chapel. But only
I, and maybe He, can see it.

I spy no side glance from the Catholic,
when I abstain from kneeling
or crossing myself. Still,
I try to match his holiness.
I read scripture.
I bow my head; I close my eyes.
I feel like I’m posing.

I open my eyes.
I read:
Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
I mouth it three times like its Liturgical Latin.

The Catholic leaves the chapel,
but not until the next Catholic arrives,
settles, and begins to pray.
They will sustain this through the night,
hour by hour, outdoing by 24,
Peter, James, and John in the garden.

They are guardians—Christianity made flesh.
Silent, they do not question
the Mormon off to the side,
watching The Second Book of Nephi
glow on his phone,
like the bread in the monstrance.


Image Attribution:
“Saint Brigid of Kildare Catholic Church in Dublin, Ohio. The Blessed Sacrament on display during Eucharistic adoration”, By Nheyob (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons