February 9, 2007

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Unusual lesson on Communion of Saints

Shirley Vogler MeisterNot long ago, I had an MRI (magnetic resonance imagining) procedure of my head. “Having my head examined,” my husband, Paul, joked.

This was done because of significant left eye and head pain that continued for several months without relief.

When the doctor called with test results, he basically said the results showed “nothing,” which naturally caused me to laugh, especially when he added that the test also showed that my brain is “age appropriate.”

Not that this disturbs me because what will be, will be, and I certainly cannot change my age.

Meanwhile, the source of the pain remains a semi-mystery, but I’m getting some relief with an appropriate medication.

The whys and wherefores of this situation are unremarkable, but I felt the urge to share it because of what I learned while experiencing the MRI.

First of all, despite horror stories I had heard or read about this test, I was not afraid. I was more curious than anything.

The technician told me this would feel much like being in a space capsule. That’s OK since I remember telling Paul before we were married that I would like to be the first woman on the moon. This was many years before moon visits were accomplished. We were only in the era of Sputniks then. (For readers unfamiliar with Sputniks, check the library or Internet.)

I went into my “space capsule” with no fear. I quickly realized that the sounds I heard were not unlike being on an airplane, which is the only flight vehicle I’ve experienced other than being on amusement park rides.

In the machine, I began to calmly pray while observing everything, especially comments from the technician. A mirror and intercom allowed me to see him at his control center, and I felt no claustrophobia.

My first prayer was the “Gloria” from the Holy Mass, said calmly and with no errors that I could perceive. Then I recited “The Creed” from Mass, again without any glitches. This was a first because I had never said these prayers outside of Mass without flubbing. Strange, yes, but true!

It dawned on me that the prayers are easily recited during Mass because they are said in unison with fellow worshippers—special moments that exemplify the Communion of Saints.

Then at Mass on Jan. 21, the second reading—1 Corinthians 12:13—verified my MRI musings.

Just as my head is part of my whole being, each of us is a part of the whole entity we call the Church, and our Church is most healthy and viable when all the parts work together.

As the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “… God so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without … so that all parts may have concern for one another … .”

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

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