Sunday, March 08, 2009

Something Nice About the Catholic Church

They held a very nice Mass for my grandmother last week.  Props to St. Ambrose Parish in Elkton, Florida and to the priest.  It's a lovely little church in the middle of almost-nowhere near East Palatka, with relatively good memories for me, and if you're ever in the area, please go check it out.  The current priest, Fr. Edward Booth is very good and personable, and of course the former priest, Fr. Patty, will always live cheerfully in my memory as a kind and generous soul in the deeply upsetting situation of my Papa's funeral.  His radiance, a reflection of Christ's light, continues to brighten my memories of this place.  The new priest only added to my fondness of the place.  Also, I love that as you walk in the doors of the church, you are greeted with a picture of Pope John Paul II.  

The new priest did a fine job and I was once again reminded how deeply central to the liturgy the Eucharist is.  (I know, duh.)  Then, we walked - walked! - from the church to the cemetery, with the hearse following behind (until they passed us...).  It was beautiful.  Out of a movie.  Only better, because it was real life.  At the grave, the priest did a very lovely committal.  Then my uncle and cousin got up in turn to share stories of Nana.  

You all will be surprised to know that I didn't share anything at the service; I was content to be a granddaughter.  Also, my uncle shared this passage, which expressed my resurrection hope just about perfectly:
 "I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to meet and mingle with each other.  Then someone at my side says, 'There!  She's gone!'  Gone where?  Gone from my sight, that is all.  She is just at large in the mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination.  Her diminished size is in me, and not in her.  And just at that moment, when some one at my side says, 'There! She's gone!' there are other eyes that are watching for her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, 'There she comes!' "

 It is attributed to Henry Van Dyke, and calls to mind of all those who took up the glad shout "There she comes!" to greet my Nana.  Papa.  Uncle Bud.  My maternal grandparents.  Others I do not know and may never know.  What a joy to know she is not, has not ever been, alone.

Thanks be to God for the gift of life in Jesus Christ, and the new life that awaits us beyond the grave.  

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