Holy Cross Cemetery: A November Reflection 2020, Part 8

I recently ran across an African proverb.  “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground,”

Even our experiences become ash.

The Bible is the one book we have in common. How it was lived varies from man to man. I can’t imagine the wisdom that floats among these stones.

The older I get, the more I want to go back and listen to them. I wonder what our spiritual directors would say about our divided world. I am grateful they are protected from such clamoring.

I would love to hear from our scientists from the past opinions about today’s pandemic.

Much has burned.  

All things lie under the cross.

As another liturgical year comes to an end in the Solemnity of Christ the King, I know all experiences rest in the King.

This King is not about politics. Imagine that. Every sadness and every joy, every hardship and every tender relationship, belongs to Jesus Christ. I love this.

Every library of the heart is ultimately a book about the King.

Most of our men were content to take their volumes of experiences with them in death.

I remember Fr. Cornelius in the 1970’s who rewrote his dissertation when he was 90 years old. He held on for dear life as he handed me a copy of his book on the Holy Spirit. I think I finally gave it away just a few years ago.  

I wish I had kept the book.

All things are one in Christ the King.

Our men are buried next to each other in the order of their death. There are several men buried next to their perceived enemy on earth. These relationships get a chuckle when those who know them see the names chiseled on the crosses. These are family ironies.

No matter who got fired from a job or who declared the firing, the experiences are sorted through on the other side of the stone.

Even fear is gathered into the King’s arms.  

Fr. John was a friend of the Kennedy family. He offered Mass at the White House the day after JFK’s assassination. I cared for Fr. John at Holy Cross House. He feared the nighttime. I sat with him in the dark the few times I worked the nightshift. He told me Jackie was the boss of that house. Fr. John’s brother was Fr. Joe, an English professor. I wish I could read the story they are writing.

I can’t get another Fr. Joe out of my heart. His dementia rose up quickly. However, it did not affect his loving personality. When I knew him, he could not remember five minutes after lunchtime whether he had eaten meatloaf with mashed potatoes or a bologna sandwich. Whatever he had, we laughed up a storm in the hallway when I pursued the questions. His smile rises in me still.

I can’t imagine bologna is served there anymore.

Fr. Bill was an opera singer. Fr. George led both high school and college jazz bands. Fr. Claude played the clarinet as did Fr. Jim. Fr. Gene sang like an ancient prophet. I wish I could listen in to the celebrations of the King this weekend. The King shall come when morning dawns. Indeed.

I wonder if they are socially distancing.

Imagine the libraries buried in this cemetery.

4 thoughts on “Holy Cross Cemetery: A November Reflection 2020, Part 8

  1. Love the musings among the stones–of the libraries worth of knowledge, wisdom, advise and council behind those markers-of-passing.

  2. One day we will be able to explore all. There is no time so we will be able to meet all and visit at least that is the way I vision some of what is to come.

  3. Thanks for this beautiful recollection Fr. Ron. It was a lovely way to start my day. I am in a bit of despair today. 4 1/2 years ago at this moment Andrew was alive and full of spit and vinegar. 14 hours from now he is dead and our lives shattered. This morning on my walk through Glen Pond Apts. I walked on the bridge that goes over the small stream exiting the pond. There, in a small 2′ X 2′ pool (by 4″ deep) was one large crayfish. Alone. Cold. Food for any raccoon coming by. I picked it up – it did not even try to move from me – and placed it gently back in the pond. It slowly moved into the deep. This is how we are saved. Unexpected. Undeserved. Hands lifting us out of our pool of pain and isolation. Sigh. Dear Lord. One more day. Peace j

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