Be Not Afraid (Of So-Called Apocalypses)

NASA and the Vatican agree: the Mayan apocalypse isn’t going to happen. Sure, there’s that calendar and all, but guess what? The Mayans ran out of room on the stone. Do I run screaming down the street when I pull December 31 off of my Cute Overload Page-A-Day Calendar, screaming It’s the end of days! And cute animals! No. I just get out the next one.

I don’t understand all the fuss, anyway, because, if the earth were completely destroyed, we wouldn’t be around to feel sad. If it’s only a partial apocalypse perhaps our prepper friends will get a chance to eat lots of TVP and grind wheat by hand for a bit. They’ll end up scratching in the dirt with sticks under an eerie, palpable yellow-white sky and/or fleeing and/or fighting their fellow humans and/or zombies for the last box of Twinkies: good luck, you lovers-of-everything-crashing-and-burning-except-for-you-and-maybe-your-family.

The 2012 apocalypse may be a non-event, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t party-worthy. I do intend to celebrate the occasion with a house Mass. For those who aren’t in my own personal know, a house Mass is when you have a Catholic Mass (that’s not a ‘service’ btw) in your living room. Frequent accoutrements include earthen vessels, acoustic guitars, floor pillows, copious amounts of wine, and me in a pair of festive plaid woolen slacks, accessorized with a pile of battered gold bangles and a glass of Scotch. Teenagers: you are welcome to congregate by the kitchen door smoking, or hang out in the basement playing pool. I will start yelling at you at some point and accuse you of drinking all the wine and/or raiding my medicine cabinet. Children: please stay out of my way. I’m going to be lighting a lot of candles, fires, cigarettes. Don’t make me light you. There’s a pile of mink coats on my bed upstairs. Go roll around in that.

The celebrant at my Mayan Apocalypse 2012 House Mass will be the Rev. Msgr. Alby Slevin, my sixth cousin. If you go upstairs to use the bathroom later in the evening, he’ll most likely be taking a wee nap in the bathtub. Ignore him. That’s just his SPP: Standard Priestly Procedure.

The music will be provided by Deacon Tim, my high school algebra teacher. He’s the guy with the beard, tan cords and adult braces. I don’t want to give too much away, but the Deacon and I have some special surprises planned. Here are a few hints: Amps. Slide projectors. Leotards. It’s gonna get real. Frankly, someone will probably die of sheer liturgical heaviness. The good news is that we’ll have priests standing by to make sure all the departed’s earthy t’s are crossed, so to speak. After medics take the body away, we’ll head back inside for an instant wake, and Alby will make everyone cry with a beautiful speech about the dead person, even though he never met him or her. Sunk into couches and cushions, dawn’s light will creep in around my heavy drapes and we’ll sigh, thankful that, while we did lose a friend, the world didn’t end and when the coldness and darkness eventually fall, we need not worry: we’re officially on a collision course with Heaven.


Mary Valle lives in Baltimore and is the author of Cancer Doesn't Give a Shit About Your Stupid Attitude: Reflections on Cancer and Catholicism. She blogs on KtB as The Communicant. For more Mary, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.