I would have hugged her, but I figured I’d probably scare her half to death if I did. Actually, I think I could have scared her all the way to death – she was pretty old.

This little old woman, hunched over, dressed all in black from head to toe including the scarf swept tediously around her head and arms filled with plastic bags of various kinds, wandered down the aisle and into the very front pew at Mass today. She carefully laid her packages down, adjusted her coat, tightened her scarf, and wiggled back and forth until she was seated just so. Throughout the entire process, she kept her eyes glued to the crucifix above the tabernacle. She seemed completely absorbed in Our Lord’s presence, undaunted by any of the distractions of the people around her.

What a pious angel, I thought to myself. I wanna be like her when I get old.

About half way through the First Reading, I caught some movement from her direction and let my eyes wander away from the ambo.

I just had to smile!

My pious angel was waving her hands back and forth in the air, pointing to the crucifix in quick, jutting motions and nodding her head to and fro. She’d quit for a half-minute or so and then the pantomine would begin all over again.

Oh, yeah. I pegged that one right. I will be like her when I get old – daft as a dilly, I chuckled.

I stayed after Mass for the Rosary. While the rest of us were praying, Pious Angel rose, moved to a pew across the aisle closer to the front and performed her nesting process again, still totally engrossed in the crucifix. Within a minute, her hands were waving and pointing as before. My mouth kept on going with the Rosary, but my eyes and mind were focused on this elderly woman.

Wait a minute. She’s actually conversing, I realized. If she is crazy, then she’s a loon for the Divine because she’s definitely in His presence.

I found myself marveling rather than chuckling at her. Wouldn’t it be an awesome thing to be so absorbed in conversation with Our Lord that we could wave our hands in the air, point to Him in quick, jutting motions, nod our heads to and fro and be lost to our surroundings without a care in the world?

Ha, I sighed. I think I do want to be like this woman when I get old, even if it means being a little crazy.

So if, in thirty or so years, you see an elderly woman dressed all in black waving her hands around and jutting a pointed finger at the crucifix in church, please be kind to her. Likely, that’ll be me.

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