I saw the face of a demon last night, and it was not pretty. Actually, it was very ugly and quite frightening. It happened in the Church parking lot, following Maundy Thursday services, which makes it perhaps all the more unexpected.
Since my last previous post, my wife and I have moved across country, and are now living in Fort Worth, Texas. We have joined St. Timothy’s parish in Bishop Iker’s Episcopal Diocese, and I am simply worshipping as a ordinary man in the pew on Sundays. Only once have I taken any official part in the service. I filled in for the Vicar one evening at Benediction, blessing the people with the Blessed Sacrament at the appointed time. Otherwise, I am one of several priests who worship in the parish without taking a leadership role in the liturgy.
During Lent, the parish has been having a series of Friday evening suppers, followed by Stations of the Cross, a meditation with slides of Jerusalem, Benediction, and Unction each week. We have attended each Friday since our arrival about the third week of Lent.
Several weeks ago, I noticed at these Friday evening gatherings, a fairly tall, very forward, brassy, blond who intruded herself into the worship portion of the evening by taking photographs. She was always very stylishly dressed, and had long peroxide blond hair! She looked like a Revlon commercial. She would walk up to the front pew, stand and walk back and forth across the width of the pew taking pictures, taking her time and framing them to her satisfaction. She was oblivious of the rest of the congregation. It was a performance for her benefit, evidently.
Last night, of course, was Maundy Thursday, and following the washing of feet there was a High Mass. I spent much of the time on the kneeler in front of me, with my feet extending under the pew behind be. When the service began, there was an elderly woman sitting behind be, and that was all. Early in the service, she was joined by a little girl. I began to be aware of someone kicking my feet. I tried to ignore it, to write it off as an accident. When it continued, I turned around to find the little girl standing there, so I knew what the problem was. I gave her a disapproving look, and went back to the Mass.
This happened several times, more kicks, followed by a look of disapproval each time. Finally, in the middle of the Agnus Dei, I turned to the little girl and said, “Stop kicking my feet. That is extremely rude. Shame.” She burst into tears, the older woman holding her looked somewhat shaken up, and the brassy blond came rushing up. Mind you, all this in the middle of the Agnus Dei!! She said, “What’s going on?” but she did not wait to find out, she simply hustled the little girl away. We were able to return to the Mass in what was left of the peace.
Following the Mass, I saw the blond woman on the side walk outside the Church, by the parking lot. I waited until she came near and then I stepped toward her. I wanted to let her know exactly what had happened. I told her that her little girl was kicking my feet during Mass. She blazed out at me, “He is a little boy!” Well, he certainly looked like a girl to me, with a bushy hair-do, and girlish clothing, to which I said, “Whatever,” which probably was not a good response, it was just what came naturally. It made her blood boil! I went on to tell her that her child’s behavior was not acceptable and must change. She hissed at me, “You dared him.” That is completely nuts, but whatever. At that point, I added, “And I have a few words for you as well. Do you have any idea how distracting it is when you are dashing about taking pictures at the front of the nave? Most of us are here to worship God Almighty!”
That is when I saw the face of evil. She was under the control of a demon, and I had called him out. Her face contorted, became almost the face of a monkey. That evil face snarled, “I’ll keep that in mind,” to which I replied, “Please do.” Then we parted. But that face is stuck in my memory; I had called out a demon who did not want to be seen, and he was ugly as sin.