At our team meeting yesterday, Kevin, the team member leading the prayer, began with a song by Peter Mayer called Holy Now. The song begins
When I was a boy, each week
On Sunday, we would go to church
And pay attention to the priest
He would read the holy word
And consecrate the holy bread
and everyone would kneel and bow
Today the only difference is
Everything is holy now
Everything is holy now.
As the song goes on, over and over we hear: Everything is a miracle….everything is holy now. (My favorite line in the song was “So the challenging thing becomes not to look for miracles, but finding where there isn’t one.)
After the song, Kevin invited us to share spots at the retreat house that are particularly special places for us. The first place I shared about was the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, which I blogged about the first time I did a retreat here. (You can read that post here.)
The other I shared is not actually on the retreat house grounds, but on the road that connects the retreat house to Highway 45. It is the tree pictured below. The first time I saw that tree it brought to mind some of the stupas I circumambulated many times during the period I was Buddhist and lived in Nepal. Some had eyes near the top shaped very much like what looks like an eye on the tree. Although I never thought about it, I realized that I always look for that tree when I arrive at the retreat house (and indeed, walk past it almost every day when I’m here) and its presence is somehow grounding to me.
Although I didn’t share it at the meeting, here is another place very special to me here – the crucifix immediately to the right of the altar in the Ignatius chapel. There is something about the corpus without the cross that is very compelling to me. I sat for quite some time on the floor below it after our Healing Service last night.
Everything is holy, but for each of us there are some places that help us see the holy a little easier.
The Mass of Christian Burial yesterday for Beau Biden was also a wonderful “Healing Service”. The television coverage on CNN, Fox and MSNBC (their commentators and panel guests) described in detail, and with solemnity, the tragic deaths the Vice President and his family have endured. As much attention was devoted to chronicling the Biden – Obama political rivalry that has developed into a close family relationship.
The coverage appeared programmed for an hour long memorial service anticipating an aura of grief and sadness while anxiously awaiting the President’s comforting eulogy. Almost two hours later, the Mass as a celebration of life in word and song, the solemnity of the Eucharistic sacrifice and the last two eulogies by Beau’s sister Ashley and brother Hunter were most revered. Unexpectedly, the fullness of Love, faith and the promise of eternal life touched many hearts of the network commentators, reporters and non-Catholics. For a moment, “everything was holy”, and Catholic (tradition) faith shone brightly. . .
Though the church may well be terminally ill, there is amazing strength and resiliency in Catholic faith. I pray all of the attendees this fall to the ‘Synod of Bishops on the Family’ dedicate time for a retreat, including many moments of silence and prayer similar to the one Susan helped lead this past week. The presence of Jesus and the vitality of our Catholic faith are best exemplified within parish life – a living example the Curia would be wise to embrace. . .
However, the instructions before Communion were shameful! With the Mass ‘exposed’ on national television, there was no mention that non-Roman Catholics were not welcomed to receive the Eucharist. Those wishing ‘not’ to receive Communion were welcomed to come forward and receive a blessing. . .
Such hypocrisy! At each Mass, the Eucharist needs to be offered to all Christians who hold close to their hearts Jesus’ blessed sacrifice and reverence His message, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”