Saturday, April 7, 2007

Holy Saturday Pilgrimage to Arlington Cemetery

It was a clear, cold Saturday morning and we went together to the graves--the elderly mother and the sinful younger woman. It was 2007, but it might have been 33 A.D. We carried plastic flowers to put in the gravestones, but we might have carried precious oils. It was a journey of love for both of us--her, for departed loved ones; me, for her. She is not the Blessed Mother, but she is a dear mother and as much like a mother to me, as my own dear mother. I am blessed in knowing and loving her. I am not the Magdalene either; I expect I have managed to avoid both extremes--her worst and her best--yet I do identify with her.

Holy Saturday, the quiet day, usually overlooked between the terror of Good Friday and the glory of Easter Sunday. The flowers fit perfectly into their holders. We stand closely together, taking warmth from each other.

She won't accept my gloves though I offer to give them to her or share them with her. The way you share gloves is each person wears one and you hold the un-gloved hands. She laughs. It's good to hear her laugh.

She talks about her son's pain at the end and how she begged God to take him to spare him further suffering. Did Mary pray like that for Jesus? I think she probably did. I think most mothers would.

She tells me that her husband "went suddenly" though she had been expecting it for some time. Is that how St. Joseph died? Did Mary miss him terribly? Oh it must have been awful for her to have to lose Joseph and then Jesus too. Even after Jesus rose again from the dead, He still ascended; He was still gone.

Mary was still left alone. She had a new son, John. I'm sure he was a good son to his mother. But he wasn't Jesus. She must have missed Jesus.

"They are in a better place," she finishes bringing me abruptly back to the present. There's no arguing with that, but I know that I'm in the best place--with her, there, among the dead, on Holy Saturday, contemplating past, present and future.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Palm Sunday Reflections

The first day of my favorite week of the year...Holy Week! A week during which we all travel with Our LORD from His triumphant arrival in Jerusalem through His solemn celebration of the Last Supper to the sorrows and anguish of His Passion and Death on the Cross. But not ending there in death and defeat because three days later Jesus rose again on Easter Sunday! What a week! Can I ever go through it and remain unchanged? No. Even though I have walked this week many years now--it always touches me, moves me, and hopefully re-creates me in a way which is more pleasing to my beloved Savior.

Today on this first day of April, on this Palm Sunday, that is my prayer...that I grow more Christ-like as I journey through this Holiest Week.