For those who have lost a loved one…

From The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser

“Just as Mary Magdala did not find Jesus in his tomb, we too will not find our loved ones there. Where will we find them? We will meet the ones we can no longer touch when we put ourselves in situations where their souls once flourished. Our loved ones live where they have always lived and it is there that we will find them.

Simply put, we find our deceased loved ones by entering into life, in terms of love and faith, in the way that was most distinctive to them. We contact them and connect ourselves to them when, in our own lives, we shape the infinite richness of God’s life and compassion in the way that they did, when we pour ourselves into life as they did.

Every good person shapes the infinite life and compassion of God in a unique way. When that person dies, we must seek him or her among the living.

Thus, if we want a loved one’s presence we must seek him or her out in what was most distinctively him or her, in terms of love, faith, and virtue. If your mother had a gift for hospitality, you will meet her when you are hospitable; if your friend had a passion for justice, you will meet him when you give yourself over to the quest for justice; if your aunt had a great zest for life, for meals with her family, and for laughter in the house, you will meet her when you have a zest for life, eat with your family, and have laughter in your house.

That is how a Christian searches for his or her loved ones after they have died. Theists visit graves (and Christians too visit graves because we are also theists) but, given the incarnation, given that we are all part of the word becoming flesh, as Christians, we search for our deceased loved ones outside of cemeteries, among the living— at our tables, in our places of work, and in the decisions, great and small, that we must daily make.”

Fit in Your Faith Today: How do you “revisit” your lost loved ones? When was the last time you engaged in something that made you think of him/her? Besides visiting the grave, what else can you do, after reading this passage, that keeps the memory of your loved one alive?

My Personal Creed

This post is going a bit way off subject from the theme of my blog but I’m sure you will all forgive me this one time.

The subject is writing – And yes even though this is a blog, it’s far from what I would consider writing for me.  I used to write on a regular basis.  And by write I mean writing actual words on a piece of paper with a writing utensil, not typing.  In fact it’s one of the jobs I thought I would actually have as an adult when I graduated college.  I wanted to write ads.  Even after my internship at an advertising agency I still had the “itch” to write but I suppose I had a bigger itch to move to Chicago and see what life was like there.  And writing took a backseat.

This past weekend I went on a retreat for people in their 20’s and 30’s who are going through a “Transition.”  It was advertised in my church bulletin a couple months ago and I recall telling my Mom that I really wanted to attend this retreat and she was so happy for me.

Everyone who knew my Mom, knew she always prayed for anyone in need.  When she was first diagnosed with lymphoma in 2009, she received so many cards from friends and family praying for her and sending her well wishes.  Lo and behold, months later she was in remission.  The prayers were answered.  This last time around was no different.  Cards came pouring in.  We kept all of them and I read them to her shortly before she passed at her bedside.

But what was the most amazing thing is that my Mom herself sent cards and prayed quite frequently – Thank You Cards, Birthday Cards, Just a note to say Hi cards…you name it, she sent them.

So this weekend while I was at the retreat, we had alot of quiet reflection time where we wrote answers to questions regarding the subject matter we had just heard.  Then we discussed what we thought.  Well, I didn’t do much writing at all because I did better “talking” my thoughts rather than writing them.

But then on the last day of the retreat, we were asked to write our own Personal Creed.  I sat in my room and just started free thinking…free writing?  Scribbling down some thoughts here and there and before you knew it I had a rough draft.  The rest came pretty easily to me.  So here it is!

My Creed
My Creed

Sorry it’s so small but if you click on it you should be able to see it.

I’m pretty happy with it.  The best part was sharing it with my small group and getting their feedback which was all positive.  The only question I got was: “Is this how you see yourself living your life NOW? Or is it a goal of how you WANT to live your life?” 

Before she even finished the question I answered: “It’s the goal, this is how I want to live.”

I suppose it’s come full circle:  Even though I’m not at my goal yet of being “stage-ready,” I’m constantly working to get there.  As with my faith, although I am not living this Creed at this moment, I feel like I’m getting closer to it.  I would have to say Mom has a lot to do with it.   I definitely felt her presence at the retreat.

Before I end, I must share this random cute story: A co-worker of mine found my Mom’s prayer card from the wake on the seat of her car as she headed into work this morning.  Funny thing is, she has no idea how it got there.  I had given her a thank you card with my Mom’s prayer card INSIDE of it, but she didn’t even see it.  The best part is, she was having a bad day so seeing my Mom’s smiling face on her car seat gave her a little boost to her day.  My mom has that effect on people, even now. 🙂

Happy Easter everyone!