Being of small stature, I am from time to time reminded of how small I am in a very large world and am sometimes given the impression that I simply do not fit in this world. Such was my experience two mornings ago when I celebrated the Holy Mass for a group of college seminarians at the tomb of Saint John Paul II.
The alb given me in the sacristy was too long. The chasuble too ample. The altar came up almost to my chest. The height of the missal stand seemed to put the missal almost at mouth-level, making it awkward to look at for the prayers. Everything felt both comical and fitting, and these words of Gandalf to Bilbo kept running through my head: "You are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!" That's very true.
It is not a bad thing to have the sense that one does not fit in this world, for it can be a profound reminder that we are made for something far greater than what this world can offer. At the same time, for a priest not to "fit" at the altar of the Lord can be a profound reminder of the immensity both of the mystery he celebrates and of the gift given him at his ordination.