Heather King's 'Shirt of Flame', pages 88-90:
"Mass was like being on the greatest stage set that had ever and ever could be produced. Mass was to participate in an ancient, ever-unfolding cosmic drama. Mass was to understand that I was participating in the kingdom of God regardless of any particular emotion I felt, thought I had, or action I performed.
most days I walked the five long blocks, through traffic and honking horns, past the grand old apartment buildings, the Dong-A Book Plaza, the parking lot attendant at Heyri Coffee with whom, after many years, I was at last on nodding terms, the abandoned lot from which I sometimes plucked a frond of wild fennel through the chain link fence, and across Wilshire Boulevard to St. Basil's, built in the late 1960s, with its soaring concrete walls, high, narrow stained-glass windows and echoing sanctuary.
Here, I cast my lot with whatever other rag-tag dregs of humanity walked through the doors: the homeless Hispanic man sleeping on the pew beside me, the Korean matron, the Vietnamese nun, in her sneakers and veil. Like Therese, I had no one with whom to share my deepest inner life. As an alcoholic, I knew all too well my bereftness, my nothingness. To have been born in some sense mentally ill was also to have been rendered so poor in spirit as to burn with love for Christ and his imperfect, shabby, sometimes embarrassing Church.
Many days I was so distracted or anxious that I could barely hear a single word. Other times a phrase I'd heard a thousand times would strike me with the force of revelation. .... That the sacrifice upon which the world had been saved was re-enacted each day in the shadow of Tofu Cabin and Gentle Dental simultaneously mystified, moved, depressed, and cheered me.
I took in the Gospel; I listened to the homilies. I wept, I sighed, I gratefully concurred, I mentally argued. But all the while I was obeying. At a level way deeper than I could hear with my ears, I was listening carefully.
Out on Wilshire again -- Gold Town, Nara Bank -- I'd think: 'No one knows I go to Mass; no one would care if I didn't.' Walking home, I'd think: 'Was that a dream?'
But more and more, I saw that Christ was the realist thing there was. "