Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fr. Todd on All Souls Day

I have been thinking about my friend, Fr. Todd Reitmeyer today.  I pray for the repose of his soul (even though he's probably been basking in the light of heaven for some time now!)  If you did not have the pleasure of knowing Fr. Todd in life, here is a wonderful website devoted to him.  Our friendship, several years before he even entered the seminary, helped me to become the Catholic I am today.  God love you Todd. . .and I do too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Through the Grapevine

If you shrink from enlightenment, then by all means do not pray the Rosary on the Feast of All Saints.  Never have I recognized the Communion of Saints so prominently in the Joyous Mysteries.  Allow me to share:

The Annunciation - Each of us heard the Gospel from the mouth of another, and that includes Mary.  That is just striking.  Mary did not receive that holy announcement "straight" from the Lord; it was delivered through another creature.  Granted, Gabriel is a step up from you and I, but a creature nonetheless.

The Visitation - Traditionally we understand this mystery as being the visit of Mary to Elizabeth.  I would suggest however that it is the visit of Jesus to Elizabeth and John, carried there by His Mother.  Mary, the living Ark of the Covenant, carries the Presence of God.  Jesus imparted an almost sacramental quality to her words:  "And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit" (Lk.1:41).

The Nativity - The announcement of His birth was entrusted to angels.  When the shepherds find Him, He is in the arms of Mary and Joseph.  But there is an even deeper beauty in this mystery - that of God taking on human lips to speak to us, making our own flesh and blood forever His own.  

The Presentation - The aged widow, Anna, announcing His identity to anyone who would listen.

The Finding - after three days of searching, Mary and Joseph discovered Him in the Temple, "sitting among the teachers" (Lk.2:46).  You and I discover Him in the New Temple, His Mystical Body made up of saints and angels, seated amidst (and within) her teachers on earth.

All of this brings Jesus' words at the Last Supper to mind:  "I am the vine, you are the branches. . .By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit" (Jn.15:5,8).  This reality allows us to understand the amazing statement He made earlier in the meal: "he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father" (Jn.14:12).  History, the very Feast of All Saints, reveals the truth of His word.  Next time you hear Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through The Grapevine, think of how God's Life came, and continues to come, into yours - it's through a chain of saints.