Musings on Endings

Today is the Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas. At the oratory where I attended Mass this morning the priest announced prior to Mass that he would be saying the Mass for Sunday within the Octave as it is a feria and that Mass (Sunday) will not be said in deference to the Mass of the Circumcision of the Lord this year. That rustling sound you just heard was Harvey hurriedly flipping the ribbons in his missal.

Pray for Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger. In the past few days I have begun to realize that the term “sedevacantist” might soon apply to me – not in the perjorative way foisted upon me and others who recognize, as I do, the total invalidity of the events of February and March of 2013, but in the actual sense. As in, there might soon be no pope. As there have been periods of sedevacant before, I am not worried. Our Lord is in control.

As I left Mass, thinking these thoughts, I noticed that the servers were setting up for a funeral. Death comes to us all. Are you prepared? Am I? Stay confessed, but more importantly, live your life at the foot of the cross! this way it won’t come as a shock when you find yourself there being judged by the One hanging from its magnificent wood.

I received a beautiful email from a reader today. A young child for whom I had been praying for a miracle in my St. Rita novena went home from the hospital today. Praised be Jesus Christ! Please continue to send me any intentions. I am nothing in this chain but a poor sinner who has received far more than I deserve. I promised to make known the favor of God’s saint and His miracles and this is what I try to do.

Later in the day I went to see my twin sister’s grave. This cemetery is a beautiful place. My sister and I drove around a bit, stopping to check out older sections of the place. It is located on a ridge overlooking Manhattan. This same sister, so many years ago, chose the site of our family plot at a time when we needed to purchase a grave immediately. No one plans for the deaths of small children. She selected the site because from the top of the hill, one could see the Twin Towers. My mother is a native Manhattanite. There was also a beautiful shade tree growing over the back of the grave. Beyond the city, one could look out toward the east, toward Ireland and Scotland and England, where our people had come from. In 2001, the cemetery workers cut down the tree and the Towers, well, we know what happened to them.

I mention the Trade Center because one of the sections we stopped at was filled with 9-11 dead. Yes, we are that close. There’s a memorial (I think it’s tacky but that’s just me – see below) and then rows of headstones. There are police officers and firemen buried here who died that morning.

Here is one example. I have not blacked out the name because I think prayers for his soul are important. RIP, Mr. Finnerty. I presume the last line refers to his body, like so many others that day, never having been recovered.

Also in this cemetery are some examples of truly beautiful works of art in the form of headstones and monuments from an era when the faith was alive and symbolized in design.

The Holy Family
The Sacred and Immaculate Hearts

On this next-to-last day of the year, when the pope may be dying, when a baby was healed, when the specter of death looms large but reminders of God’s love and mercy are still to be found; I found myself meditating on the words “You know not the day nor the hour.”

9-11 Memorial in the cemetery.

But anything can happen.

Pray, fast, stay confessed.

Queen of Heaven, pray for us!

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