Saturday, April 09, 2005
Friday, April 08, 2005
The shock of the death has passed. One is beginning to come to terms with the reality of life without that loved one. Oh there will be more tears, sure. But the bitterest grief has been laid to rest with the body.
Soon after the funeral, those left behind are back in the Aristotilean world where Newton's physics suffice to describe our experiences, bills must be paid, and the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
The funeral and the days leading up to it have been intense experiences of prayer and tears.
Now those left behind must pick up the pieces as best they can, and get on with things.
When my mother died, I went apple picking that afternoon. It is best to take your mind off the grief and do something nice for yourself. But reality is reality. I was back in work the next day after both of my parents' funerals.
And that is a course of action I recommend. Shut the TV off. Pray quietly now, not so much for the assured repose of the soul of our great Pope John Paul II, as for a good successor.
It is time to turn from the grief and sorrow of death and parting, and enjoy the Resurrection, the Spring, the new life in Christ. There are birds singing, flowers preparing to bloom (they may be in bloom already in warmer parts of the country than Boston) and familial duties and other obligations to see to. As for me, illustrating my prayer book will occupy my time this afternoon, plus some time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
As if to prove my thoughts above, my lunchtime walk across town showed me the Swan Pond with much water in it, probably from the rain last night. The ducks and geese are reveling in the water. I also saw my first bunch of blooming flowers, mini-daffodils, at the Public Garden. The rest of the flowers still seem to be a few days away from blossoming.
Our late Holy Father had a sweet tooth, according to George Weigel.
Maybe all Father Cuenin's weekly messages (and homilies, but that would mean someone with a lot of patience would have to sit through them) ought to be given this attention. Either he will be reigned in, or learn to shut his mouth and do his job properly.
I think elevation by acclamation would be appropriate here, and for Blessed Mother Theresa, too. If not them, then who? If not now, when?
Ratifying these two decisions should be the next Pope's first item on the agenda.
The seat of Peter is truly empty.
God bless Holy Mother the Church, guide the Cardinal Electors when they meet to select a successor, and welcome John Paul II into the glorious company of saints.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
First of all, most flags, including those at the State House, City Hall, and the Common, and some of the hotels and businesses, are at half-mast in honor of the Holy Father. Bet the ACLU doesn't like that. Too bad.
The marker on the Common near Charles Street commemorating the Mass said on the Common by the Holy Father in 1979 has some flowers spontaneously added to it, but as of yesterday at noon, not too many.
There is black bunting at Saint Anthony Shrine on Arch Street, but none (as of yesterday) at Saint Francis Chapel at the Pru. I'll check later.
The weather is finally beginning to grown mild and spring-like. I would say that winter's back is finally broken. It has been a long, cold, snowy winter. After two days of more or less heavy rain and showers, and a snowy and wet winter generally, our water tables are high, and the ground is fairly sodden. Yesterday, temperatures were around 50F, and today they may (if the East wind doesn't knock them down) get to near 60F.
The famous Swan Pond at the Boston Public Garden is empty, the ice finally having melted. Last year, the City spent a few days dredging the bottom to remove the previous year's dead leaves and assorted other litter (both organic and non-organic) before filling it. They may be doing the same thing this year. In two weeks, for Patriots' Day weekend, the swan boats, and maybe even the swans themselves, return to the Garden. Right now, the ducks and geese have it to themselves, and are baffled at the lack of water.
Tulips, daffodils, and lilies are up through the ground and sprouting about 6 inches high. I have not seen any blooming yet. I saw some yellow forsythia at a florist on Boylston Street, but suspect that it was hothouse-forced, not natural. I haven't seen any yellow forsythia in anyone's gardens yet.
Patriots' Day is two weeks from yesterday. That means the Marathon will shut down government offices including the public libraries, and make trying to get to and fro on Boylston Street impossible. The Paul Revere Mall in the North End and the area around the Old North Church and the Paul Revere House in North Square should be getting a spring spruce-up for the tourists.
Easter seemed like just a brief respite this year. Over at Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group, I've had a lenten purple color scheme since Septuagesima Sunday. Then for Easter, I switched over to spring yellows, pinks, and greens, only to have to go into mourning black and grey for the Holy Father a few days later.
The judicial murder of Terri Schiavo, coupled with the death of the Holy Father have certainly tempered our Easter joy this year. Way too much death last week.
But we lay our Holy Father to rest Friday. I think there will be a new Pope within 3 weeks. I really don't think the College of Cardinals will be long in picking a successor. Winter is finally over and Spring is poised to break out. New life is palpably ready to emerge. There is hope. And that is the message of the Gospels, too.
Monday, April 04, 2005
We have lost two of the old buoys that marked the channels of our lives in the last year.
I took particular note of this passage, which applies to so many American bishops and cardinals:
I wish, furthermore, that he would let it be known to all and sundry bishops who are careless in their duties, who transgress in the matter of residence or in the luxury of their retinue or in excessive expenditure on furnishings, life-style, and similar matters, will be suspended or replaced by the appointment of vicars apostolic in order to remedy the situation. It is important to make an example from time to time. Examples of this sort will make other bishops take notice and moderate their extravagance accordingly.
In the traditional Office (pre-Vatican II) there are only 3 hours, but Matins has an Invitory that is prayed with each of its 3 nocturns. The nocturns are said on different days. After Vatican II, additional hours were added, and the composition was altered. The Catholic Encyclopedia (the online version of which is pre-Vatican II) has an excellent description of the composition and origin of the Office of the Dead as seen here.
Invitatory For Matins
First Nocturn of Matins
Second Nocturn of Matins
Third Nocturn of Matins
I'm repeating the links to the parts of the Office here so that people just logging in and not scrolling down can easily see and make use of this resource, and because, in my rush to post Saturday I failed to explain anything about the devotion, which is no longer familiar to Catholic laymen, and probably not familiar to many clergy or religious, either.
My top candidates are Ratzinger, Arinze, and Shoennborn. Ratzinger as obvious first choice, Arinze as a good fall-back, and Schoennborn as the hope of the future.
Come to think of it, wouldn't Cardinal Pell himself make an excellent Pope?
So now I have found another image of John Paul with a monstrance. This one appears to be of later date (2000) as the toll of illness and age appears in the Holy Father's face. Still, I like these images of him with a monstrance as they emphasize not just his leadership, but his priesthood, and are highly appropriate for this Year of the Eucharist that he decreed.
One of Blessed Fra Angelico's numerous versions of the Annunciation
One is reminded of our Holy Father's devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his consecration of his life and work to her, summed up in his phrase, "Totus Tuus." How fitting that he lies in state on this feast, and that he died on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast he put on the calendar.