Folks, my Friday time slot on Morning Air got rescheduled to tomorrow morning, Monday, October 28 at 7:15 am. You can still listen live in the app, on your radio, or via live streaming in the player located here. We’ll be talking about my recent article on loss.
This morning was the White Mass at the Cathedral. This is celebrated every year in honor of those with disabilities, in recognition of the same divine calling we all have in Christ. White is to “symbolize the dignity shared by all who have been baptized into Christ’s body.”
I sat with the L’Arche community over by the choir and the big, grand organ. During the consecration Charles reached out from his pew and held my hand. Andrew decided to sit next to me, asked me and Meredith to shake hands, and then held my own for some time. I saw Johnny give freely to the collection, and a few core family members gently received communion on the tongue when Fr. John came to them in their pew. At the end, Francine hopped up to dance beside the choir as they sang.
The really big thing that L’Arche and my time with the intellectually disabled has taught me, so far, is how simple relationships are. And of course, how much we all desire relationship. Neither Charles nor Andrew had any question in their heart about being with me; they just reached out. The exchange of love from a disabled person doesn’t come with strings or premeditation. And it’s often a really big love - big hugs, big exclamations of joy. I am not saying every relationship in our lives needs to be this way, but that I think I learn something from the unpremeditated, trustful gift of self I have witnessed in L’Arche.
Something else coming up this week: All Saints Day; All Souls Day. Two things to mention: the thing about All Saints that always gets me is that it’s celebrated in honor of all saints, known and unknown. I am sure I have written about this somewhere (I cannot currently locate), but the idea of unknown saints is fascinating to me. Think of all the martyrs the world is oblivious to, or the devout widows who died alone in poverty, or the saintly man who never left his village and is therefore unknown to the world. And they’re with God, and they’re praying for us!
For All Souls, because I have been thinking about purgatory a lot (and how the souls there can apparently only pray for other people and not themselves), I am particularly interested in the tradition of visiting graves on All Souls and praying for the dead. Distinctly Catholic, eh? There’s an indulgence associated with that. I read somewhere that the practice of visiting cemeteries and praying for the dead (especially holy souls in purgatory) should be taught to children because, well, one day we may need those children’s’ prayers when we are passed on.
All the holy souls in purgatory, pray for us.
See you tomorrow on the radio.