Thursday, January 8, 2009
Last night I attended the funeral mass of one of the senior sisters in our community. It was the first funeral service I had attended for one of our own. The entire province was there, along with former students and friends. So many thoughts and emotions come to mind, it's hard to choose a place to begin. I guess I'll start by saying that I'll miss her, and I have been blessed by the short time I've known her. Sister's prayer intension for vocations and perseverance at morning or evening prayer will always sound in my mind, finding its way down from the choir loft to our hearts and God's ear. I know she'll be a powerful advocate for us in heaven, and that she's in the company of angels now. Although she didn't make it to her diamond jubilee celebration, she held the joy of her 75 years of profession in her heart. It was evident to all who met her.
The Mass marking her transition from our world of time and form into the eternal present was beauty at it's most real. For in the true reality of beauty our lives are stripped and laid bare; nothing remains but the brutal honesty of who we really are. It is here, in His presence, that we are beheld by our Lover, trembling in the full realization of who we really are; created beings graced with His favor. It is with a great and terrible faith that we march towards this meeting with our Absolute. There is no greater expression of that raw and aching faith than when we chant the Suscipe, at our both our profession and our funerals.
"Sustain me Lord according to your promise, that I may live, and do not fail me, for I have trusted in your faithfulness".
For the proving ground of our trust in Him is in this chapel, now, as the white pall is unfolded over her coffin, and she is sent forth in loving community by her sisters, blessed with the holy water of her baptism in Christ. At times like these it is easier to see that perhaps all of our lives are truly one long Advent. We live our years alloted to us in agitation and anticipation.
"Our hearts are restless until they rest in the Lord", as St. Augustine says.
For we are but waiting on the call of our Beloved. Waiting. Waiting in that sometimes raw, aching hunger that is true faithfulness. It is by God's grace that I am blessed to be a lady in waiting within this community of faithful sisters, may I never forget that.
RIP Sr. M.C., you served our Lord 94 years in in trust and faithfulness.