Last Sunday I was at Mass. it had been a long time since I had been to Mass for various reasons.
I found the first priest that we, as a family, had when we came to Huntsville in 1970. Not that he was lost; I was sorta not recognized as a catholic in good standing after my divorce. Now I must say in all fairness to me, I kept my promise I made when I married the father of my two children by continuing to take them to mass and to catechism until they were confirmed. But I digress.
I sat and listened intently to hear the Irish brogue, now not so distinct. I remembered all the right prayers and responses; I almost missed the offering but the young man did lean over and take my check. Everything was moving alone nicely. I knew in my head and heart that another kinder, gentler Franciscan priest had listened to my story and I had been accepted back into the church, in good standing. Therefore, when it came my pews time to proceed to communion, I was in line.
We moved slowly forward and then it was time for me to receive communion. I cupped my hands correctly, I responded correctly as the host was placed in my palm, I turned to face the cross and to place the host in my mouth…..and then it was on the floor.
How could I have dropped it…I stared and thought for a second; knew I could not leave the host on the floor but never in all my years had this topic been covered. Therefore, I gracefully bent and picked up the host but did not put it in my mouth. After all, it had been on the floor. So I held it in the palms of my hand; went back to my seat; placed the host in a Kleenex in my purse; stood for the last song; went over and spoke to the priest who did not remember me but was kind enough to ask me my name. I thought perhaps I should tell him I had a renegade host in my purse but there were to many people around. I retrieved my car and drove home feeling rather strange, like maybe the sky might fall any moment.
Arriving home, I quickly googled “dropped host” on the catholic website to see what could be done.
The instructions told me to put the host in clean water in a clear cup and let it dissolve. I found a clear cup, put the water in, unwrapped the host and put it in to dissolve. After dissolving one then pours it into the earth.
While waiting for this to happen, I undressed and put on home clothes, ate a salad and watched the host floating merrily on top of the water. It was not dissolving as it was suppose to do. I pondered what to do.
I found a real silver spoon and stirred the host around and around and nothing happened. By this time I did not think it was holy anymore, more like stubborn. Why did I have to go to this particular church which I did not know anyway? There was no going back so I take the cup and spoon and merry host to the deck and found some plain ground, the earth, and poured everything out.
Now, I thought, I have done the best I could when lo there appeared a squirrel who came from out of nowhere. It came right up to my feet and looked up at me; down at the host and then ate it all.
The squirrel then flipped his tail at me and straight way ran up the nearest tree.
I guess I now have a Holy Squirrel.
You might ask if I am going back to that church but I think you probably know the answer.
If you are Catholic, the lesson here is how to dispose of a dropped host.