A couple of notes:
Congratulations to Seton dad Ken Cuccinelli on his election to Attorney General of Virginia and to alumni dad Bob Marshall on his re-election to his 10th term as a Virginia Delegate.
Check out Glenn Gregory’s comment on the last blog entry – he waxes nostalgic and hilarious when he considers his World Culture days.
UNTIL DEATH DO US PART
November 3rd , Mom and I were outside on a beautiful day: perfectly blue skies, 60 degrees, not the slightest breeze and that November desert-like quiet. I said to Mom that it was so quiet because all the song birds had gone south for the winter. Just then two robins came flying by and one, of course, was chirping. But that was it. It was so calm and tranquil. Still thinking about the Small Ball Game, I think, I began making snowballs from the patchy snow that remained from the foot that had fallen a couple days earlier, and I began throwing them toward a big barrel that we sometimes burn trash in. My success rate of making a basket was terrible. I’d throw a right hand, then a left hand and after many throws had only made one of each. My goal was to make a right and a left consecutively. The barrel was 38’ away (I just went out and measured with a yardstick), and my failure may have been because, like snowflakes, no two snowballs were exactly alike. We had been out for over an hour, and Mom was ready to go in. So I made two last snowballs, threw with the right – perfect throw. Threw with the left – perfect throw. Obviously, I am great under pressure. It was a tremendously exciting moment which Mom did not seem to care about in the least. But considering that it is November, I think Mom was right to be unimpressed.
November has a beginning like no other month. We first have the exultant joy of All Saints Day as we look forward to our place in the Heavenly Kingdom, then we are immediately brought back to earth, so to speak, as we consider the Poor Souls and are reminded of our own sinfulness and need for penance. This somber mood prevails liturgically through most of the month dedicated to the Church Suffering. And it prevails environmentally, at least in this hemisphere at this latitude. The trees are silhouettes of their former selves having shed their recent glorious past; the birdsong has quieted; the crops are harvested except for the desiccating field corn which hangs limply on brown stalks; the green sprouts of winter wheat stand in contrast to the prevailing brown, but even it is a reminder that unless the grain of wheat shall fall into the ground and die, it remains lifeless.
The Mass readings as we approach the Feast of Christ the King call us to consider the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. We are asked to consider four things we know very little about. We have undergone the death and rebirth of Baptism that has given us the life that no one can take from us, while we remain in this mortal body that we will one day, for a time, leave behind. We can define death: the separation of soul and body, but then we are left only with imaginings. Lifelong partners from the womb, it must be a strange event to be suddenly separated from the body; to leave it behind to its decay while we now begin a quasi-assumption to our Particular Judgment. Perhaps in this separation we will first truly appreciate what this union of soul and body is — how united they make us the microcosm of the universe and little less than the angels. The separation will surely make us look forward to our reunion with the body at the resurrection. The soul must come to Our Lord without its partner. It gives us the image of standing naked before Him Who knows all things and from Whom we can keep no secret. It is both sobering and liberating to consider this. Sobering because we will clearly see how what we have been has made us who we are; liberating because the facades of this life are removed and no pretense is possible.
The soul will undergo its purification without the body, but we will know that the cleansing will make our souls suitable partners for the resurrected body in its glorified state.
The last three verses of “For All the Saints” gives us an idea of what we are saying here.
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.
But then there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Jezum, ufam Tobie.