Up early today and noticed Stacy McCain’s post on festivities at CPAC. There were an awful lot parties and I missed nearly all of them but Stacy has a ton of pictures.
Despite getting back to my Hotel in Largo at 3 a.m. one thing I didn’t miss was mass. The last time I was at one of these national events the next week I went to confession. I had been struggling with a particular sin and was rather pleased at my progress (spiritual pride, very dangerous) and was able to confess that my big sin was only missing mass.
Fr.Bob looked at me and told me bluntly, “You had time for this event, that event, you made time to see the monuments and historical sites but you couldn’t find one hour for God?”.
I was deflated really fast and was determined that I would not make that mistake. My friend Steve who now lives in the area told me he would pick me up at 8 a.m. for at 9 a.m. Mass at the national cathedral.
If you’ve never been (and I hadn’t) you can’t imagine the place. By the time I was on the steps I could physically feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Once I was inside my jaw spent the majority of its time on my chest..
By arriving early I had time to gape at the chapels inside the church where mass can be celebrated. I was very taken by the individual displays of the mysteries of the Rosary.
The Mass itself had a dozen celebrants and the ushers were all members of the Knights of Columbus. The cantor was incredible and the sermon was pretty solid. I love to sing and I really let myself go but I also found myself choking up a bit.
After Mass we had breakfast downstairs (it was incidentally the best meal I had in DC) I was a bit surprised to see speaker Gingrich eating at the table next to mine and was also able to grab a replacement Angelus prayer card in the gift shop.
One thing that struck me as important. Just before you get to the Cathedral there is a small church (St. Anthony’s). For all of the presence of the holy spirit for all of the emotional and spiritual reaction I had in the Cathedral one must never forget the mass down the street is the same mass, the presence of Christ in the blessed sacrament is no less holy. The difference between empathy and saintliness is the ability to feel the presence of the spirit in the small church like the still small voice. That is the goal.
If I can afford CPAC next year maybe I’ll see about getting making a regular trip and arranging a trip to Mass for Sunday Morning Mass for bloggers who want to come. I don’t know how many I’d get but it would be fun to find out.
Meanwhile here is a slideshow of all the shots there: