I went to a funeral this year on the feast of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat. It was a funeral that was important to have someone from the community attend…two others were away and the third was occupied at the school next door. We had decided to celebrate the Feast tonight instead. There was dinner with the Associates, some of the community members who live in a building with Sisters of Charity about fifteen minutes away, and the 99 year old mother of a community member. I helped spearhead the preparation of the main dish–the rest was being brought by others who were coming. I was also asked to do grace.
It was a different grace than if I’d composed it for her actual feast on the 25th. I’ve read two things since then…one was a double page spread article in The Globe and Mail (TGAM) on Saturday, May 27th. “The Forever War,” by Mark Mackinnon was a thoughtful piece about becoming a culture acclimatized to acts of terror. The other was a line in an essay about the bookstore Chapter One in Ketchum, Idaho. “There is no community without a common resource.” (Dale Bates, local architect)
The combination of those two things had me wondering, “What is our common resource?” What is it that we put out there for the use of the Whole: the big Whole and the smaller wholes… It makes sense that an abundance or a scarcity of Resource shapes the community who uses or needs it. Water; Freedoms; Food; Hate; Shelter; Fear; Stability; Ignorance; Love….
What is our common resource and how does it shape our identity as community? In our best moments, I pray that the resources we put forth serve to build up, to console, to lead community toward greater ideals. And to bring in the article from TGAM, do we make the acquisition or manipulation of those resources into contests of superiority or quantity…or do we see sharing what builds us up as a community as a call to offer it because we have it to offer for the good of the Whole and the wholes?
Anyway, this is what I was thinking about as I wrote grace for Saint Madeleine Sophie’s feast. Thank you, Sophie, for understanding why it was a couple of days later than usual this year.
Grace for the Feast of Saint Madeleine Sophie, 2017
The print on pages,
staining fingers and
provoking a sigh already
at a day’s fresh rising,
has said “The memorials are always sad
and beautiful, but
the fact that they’ve become common scenes
tells us love
isn’t winning the contest
Madeleine Sophie, you
lived a revolution
of fire and vision;
courage, challenge, and
strength measured in Love.
For you, it was never a contest to win;
it was a call to answer…
A life to live for the sake of a child,
for neighbor, for Sister, for All.
We ask that you bless each of us.
Bless each of us who desire to
make known with our lives the Love
that is the Heart of Jesus:
a heart that is wholly given,
given without reservation,
so that tomorrow may be met
with hope, in faith, and with the confidence
that we are not alone.
May this meal nourish us and strengthen us
that this might be so.
(Quotation: Mark Mackinnon in “The Forever War,” The Globe and Mail, 27 May, 2017; written in the aftermath of the suicide bomber in Manchester, England)