Last night we went to church for Christmas eve mass, my first time at church in ... a very very long time. I was surprised at how I remembered all the words, and how much I enjoyed the utterly predictable rhythms of the mass. There were a lot of old people and young people who didn't seem to want to be there; the cantor picked songs that nobody knew, and sang them at a dirge-like tempo; the homily didn't seem like anything special. But there was a moment after communion when we all sang "Silent Night," accompanied only by the occasional low note of the organ. As we sang into the second and third verses I wondered if I would remember the words, the way I had remembered the profession of faith and the eucharistic prayer and the rest. Sure enough, as the later verses came I found myself singing along, the words tumbling forth without a conscious awareness that I knew them. Words I didn't think I knew; memories that sustained.