For Them, Life Has Changed, Not Ended
I am having trouble sleeping tonight, so I began thinking about friends, relatives and fellow Dominicans who have died, and whom I pray are with Jesus in glory. I continue to be blessed by their prayers and love, and I thought I might offer a brief litany of thanks to God for them.
Thank you, Lord, for Fr. Bernie, who remembered me and my classmate, Jose, in his daily Mass throughout my formation as a Dominican. He gave me my first priestly stole four years before my ordination, because he knew he would not live to see it. Is it merely a coincidence that Jose and I were the only two from my class of nine who were ordained?
Thank you, Lord, for my lay Dominican sister, Virginia, who kindly accepted my naive invitation to comment on my homilies, and then gave me brutally honest feedback wrapped in love. She had such a great devotion to the saints and to her friends that the saints were her friends, and her friends were encouraged to be saints. Was it merely a coincidence that she went to heaven on the feast of her favorite, St. Aelred, the patron of friends?
Thank you, Lord, for my Dominican sister, Kathleen Rose, whose laughter and love for ministry sustained her as she battled with breast cancer. Was it simply luck that gave us a sunny two days in the 70 degree temperature range on the Oregon coast in December the last time I saw her alive?
Thank you, Lord, for Granny Fones and Nana Simpson, the only grandparents I have any real memories. Granny served the sick in hospitals by cooking for them; she taught me how to play King's Corners, and I loved her easy laugh, and the clicking sounds her dentures made occasionally when she talked. I remember Nana bent in half as she picked dandelions in the yard, doing something to show her gratitude for living with my family for months at a time. She impressed upon me the importance of Scripture at an early age simply by reading her Bible in the blue chair in the living room sunshine.
Thank you for Fr. Antonio, who patiently dealt with my skeptical scientific mind as he taught me the way the ancient Greeks saw the world. I hope I never forget (and someday share) his childlike wonder at the beauty of the God's creation and the inspired creativity of God's human creatures.
I rejoice that for them, life has changed, not ended, and that their love for me is even greater now than it was during their earthly life. I rejoice that through Jesus in the eucharist we are still united, and I hope to be able to see them again, but with a love purified of selfishness, so that I can love them with and in the love of Christ.
For whom are you thankful today, among your brothers and sisters in Christ have gone to their rest? How have they inspired you? How will you remember them - and pray for them - on this feast of All Souls?