Eulogy for My Dear Friend*

She was tough on the outside but so tender within

And had suffered much for her deep-rooted sin

God had somewhere He knew she needed to be!

 

Pushed aside by so many

Of pain she had plenty

God had somewhere He knew she needed to be!

 

Then one day she walked into a church

Having done very little or no research

And found it was where God wanted her be!

 

And one thing led to another

From the love of her hubby’s mother

God had her where He knew she should be!

 

She found Christ’s love in His church, we know!

It was truly profound and she began to grow!

For she had found the place He wanted her to be!

 

It’s been twenty-five years

And she wasted no tears,

God placed her where she needed to be!

 

She encouraged so many with her wisdom and care

And to ignore her advice no one would ever quite dare!

For God used her and blessed her where He asked her to be!

 

The priests and parishioners can only applaud her

And for my hubby and me we completely concur

That God used her where she was meant to be!

 

She recently passed from this earthy life

Having experienced profound pain and strife

But God now has her where He wants her to be!

 

Now she is worshipping the King of kings!

Oh please do tell us of the joy that it brings

Because we know you’re where God wants you to be!

 

We can’t spend time chatting & texting anymore

And I’m thankful way down deep in my core

That you’re where you’ve been wanting and waiting to be!

 

So, for me, you’ve certainly been a saint of sorts

Though you would never admit that, of course!

Because God now has me where He wants me to be!

 

So because of you and your multiple prayers

And those that you and my hubby had shared,

I’m certain I’m where God wants me to be!

 

You fervently offered up your suffering for me.

I may have resisted but now I am free!

You knew I was fighting God’s plan for me!

 

But now I thank you my dear Naomi

For faithfully praying so much for me!

I’m certain I’m where God wants me to be!

 

May I now take your place

And seek Our Lord’s Face

By sharing this joy He’s given to me!

 

I will prayerfully seek Him and His Holy will,

And silently wait and be very still,

For I am certain that is what He wants from me!

 

*Naomi was Gary’s cousin but became a very dear friend of mine.  She prayed as I struggled on my journey to the Catholic church.  What a prayer warrior she was at that!  She passed away on April 5 and was a model of one who believed that our suffering is never wasted, but can be used to intercede for other. (See my blog “Why Suffer?”)

 

 

 

Paschal Triduum

Paschal Triduum.

What is the Paschal Triduum?  It is the culmination of the Liturgical Year of the Catholic Church — from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday.   “Just as Sunday is the high point of the week, Easter is the high point of the year.”  (Carl E. Olson).  Triduum brings us into contact with the life of Christ through the Last Supper, His trial and crucifixion, His time in the tomb, and His Resurrection from the dead.

I’ve spent this Lent seeking more of Jesus; His Voice and His will as well as my obedience to what He’s calling me to.  It has been rich.  And now, finishing this season with Holy Week is such a meaningful time for me.  Lent has helped me attempt to share in Christ’s earthly ministry and now, during the Triduum, I am to focus on the last days of His life and the purpose for which He came to this earth!

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday (my first as a Catholic adult!) was impactful last year at my local church, the Church of the Good Shepherd.  Our parish priest not only knelt as he washed the feet of several people of different ages, ethnicities, and gender, but after washing each one, he gently kissed their feet.  It was a true example of humility. He acted as Christ would have while washing the feet of His disciples.  What a profound picture!

Holy Thursday itself demonstrates so clearly to me Who Christ was.  Jesus Christ loved me enough to not only humble Himself to share in my humanity, but He washes away the filth and grime of my selfishness and sin as He washes my feet!  Then to offer Himself to me in the Holy Eucharist, to reside in me as I partake of Him day after day, is beyond my comprehension!  This is a profound mystery I cherish and will forever wonder how to explain it well!

Good Friday

It has been my privilege to participate in weekly Stations of the Cross during Lent.  (See my Via Dolorosa blog).  The pain of what Christ went through for me has never impacted me before in the way it did this year.  Could this be because I’ve been able to literally receive Him daily in Holy Communion?  I can’t explain what a difference that makes in my life!  He transforms my heart from the inside out every time I partake of the Holy Eucharist.

So each Friday during this year’s Lenten season, as I’ve read and prayed the Stations of the Cross and imagined what Christ went through for me, I have sensed a nearness to Him that I’ve never known before.  Also unexplainable!

We don’t celebrate the Mass, but we do receive Holy Communion.  The consecrated host from the previous day that had been removed from the Tabernacle is brought back just for Communion.  This is the day we share in Christ’s crucifixion, death and burial.  It’s a dark day.  A day of mourning.  A day of sadness.  It hurts me deeply to recognize how I, too, participated in nailing Him to the Cross.

Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil

Jesus remains in the tomb until we celebrate His Resurrection.  Holy Saturday is a day of silent preparation for His Resurrection!   Everything that Jesus said and did is only meaningful through Christ’s Resurrection, and that is celebrated at sundown on Saturday at The Easter Vigil.  What a magnificent and glorious celebration it is!

The evening begins in darkness.  Then a tall Paschal candle is lit in that darkness.  This act symbolizes Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.  He has overcome every form of evil and darkness by His Resurrection!  That light is then passed from candle to candle, from one person to the next, until every candle is lit.  The entire church is illuminated by Christ, so to speak, our Paschal Lamb, our Source of light and redemption.

The Scriptures are read extensively from both the Old and New Testaments.  New adult converts are then baptized.  Parishioners renew their own baptismal vows as the priest walks throughout the church sprinkling Holy Water on them.  It is a most sacred evening.

The highlight of the Vigil Mass for me last year was when I received the sacrament of Confirmation.  This completed my baptism as I received the gift of the Holy Spirit as the priest prayed for me through the imposition of hands and the anointing wich chrism (holy oil).  It was a most holy experience indeed.

My desire is to know, love and serve Jesus Christ in my daily life.  The Triduum puts it altogether for me as I worship Him in His pain and sorrow as well as celebrate His victory and triumph over death, sin and the grave.  It can’t get more beautiful than that!

Happy Easter everyone!

The Via Dolorosa

I first heard this song by Sandi Patti back in 1991.  I recently listened to it again after many years, and quickly recalled how I responded upon hearing it for the first time.  It completely overwhelmed me as I imagined the pain, torment, suffering and love Jesus had for me!  Every time I heard it tears streamed down my face as I realized how Jesus Christ willingly suffered for me simply because of His Great Love!  The following link is a beautiful rendition of Sandi Patti’s Via Dolorosa, with lyrics.  You are welcome to quietly and solemnly reflect on this amazing love He has for us as you listen and watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7asEdmZsSPo.

The Via Dolorosa, or “The Way of Sorrow,” is a narration of Christ’s final hours here on this earth.  It describes what transpired on the route Jesus walked from the judgment seat of Pilate to Golgotha where he was crucified.  The Via Dolorosa is based on Matthew 27 and is also a reference for the “Stations of the Cross”, which is a Lenten devotional in the Catholic Church.  “The Stations of the Cross serve as a stark reminder of the humble manner in which Jesus was willing to set aside any privilege of deity in order to provide a path to salvation through His sacrifice.”  (GotQuestions.org)

I remember my parents taking all nine of us kids to church every Good Friday to walk, recite and ponder each Station of the Cross.  Every Catholic church has fourteen “stations” which are paintings or sculptures hung on the walls of the church that describe what Jesus went through during the last hours of His life on this earth.

It was sobering for me as a child, even though I didn’t fully understand it, to stare at each one of those depictions of Christ’s suffering and attempt to imagine what He went through.   We went year after year to observe how He suffered and I clearly remember being sad every time.  My heart was always warmed, however, when Easter Sunday came a couple of days later, and we celebrated His resurrection!

When I asked Jesus into my life as a teenager, I gradually began to understand the depth of Christ’s love and what His crucifixion meant for me in a more personal way.  Then to later listen to the fervor with which Sandi Patti sang the Via Dolorosa, I found myself falling more in love with Him out of deep gratitude for all He went through for me!

I have been a Catholic Christian for a year now.   To participate in the Stations of the Cross this year is both profound and deeply meaningful as I walk alongside Jesus at each Station.  I simply can’t absorb that amount of love He has for me!  As I reflect on each station I find myself overtaken with tears of gratitude and pain.

If you’ve not had the opportunity to walk with Jesus in His Passion as He approached His Crucifixion, or if it’s been awhile since you have done so, this would be a great way to finish out the Lenten season!  I invite you to click on the following link where you will find the Stations of the Cross.   While this site is designed for children, taking about 3 ½ minutes to read, it proves to be profound and meaningful.

http://media.loyolapress.com/assets/lent/stations-eng/stations-eng.html