Last night, a gift of grace! "Merici" came to die From nearby nursing home
Our doctors did their best Her heart and lungs were spent With ninety-four long years
Merici’s hour drew near Without a single kin No family / friend appeared
An echo from the past “My God! My God! Oh, why Have You forsaken me?!”
I whisper in hear ear I stroke her clammy hand My sacred space, beside her
Heart rate first read sixty The monitor’s slow descent… To forty…down…to…naught
Merici’s voyage to God Unseen, unshared, unmourned Except for privileged me
“Be kind, accepting, Lord! Forgive her any fault! Embrace her! Again! For me!”
I voice a hope-filled prayer: Our middle name is “Weakness” But Thine is truly “Mercy!”
After more than sixty years of priesthood, forty-two spent at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, Father Frank Keenan, C.P. retired from active ministry a couple of years ago and now resides in a local nursing home where he writes poetry and gladly shares stories of his life as a Passionist.
O pain, here you are again.
I should be used to you.
You visit my Dad so often,
physical, intense pain.
But you can’t stop him from being happy and kind.
You are no match for his beautiful and sweet disposition.
Each new day, with the clouds or sunshine, brings him gratitude and joy.
He is so much stronger than you.
You visit my heart. You pierce me by hurting my Dad.
I hate you but through you, I become closer to God.
I offer you up for souls, for Dad’s soul.
Every time you visit, I cling to the almighty with trust and joy.
Lisa-Marie who is relatively new to the Partners, is our first strictly online Partner. She attended a Passionist retreat in May of 2014 where: “I was then introduced to our sorrowful Mother. I now see the sufferings of Jesus in a whole new light and want to honor Mary by meditating on her sorrows and to permanently keep Christ’s passion in my heart.
Last week I asked what are the commandments Jesus gave us as opposed to the those Moses gave us. This Sunday’s Gospel selection gives us the first two which I believe are the paradigm for all of life: Love God with all your mind, heart and soul; two, love your neighbor as yourself. The other commandments give us a formula to carry these out and how to love life and embrace it more fully even the most difficult aspects of it like our crosses.
Love does not judge it tries to understand and help if possible. Love forgives always and does not carry the burden of resentment or grudges. Those two are best demonstrated by a mother’s love for her child as well as the best example of how we should treat our neighbor. These commandments are about how we should relate to life. Pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus. Embrace life even our crosses. What are the other commandments or are there other commandments?
Inside, stored memories of deeds done simmer subconsciously alongside restrained resentments, anger and acrimony. Cloaked in layers like winter clothing by time and
tamed temperament, insulated from the surface except in dreams or involuntary reactions,
slowly damming Life as a free flowing force.
Introspection far beyond this momentary facade reveals conflicts both freshly picked and digested long ago. Confrontation defies delusion and denial. Painful emotions emerge with authentic admissions crying out to be at peace even with the dead. Desire for wholeness of spirit or heart foams an antiseptic cleansing solution when applied. Infected wounds that have been given and received now begin to heal. A soothing balm of forgiveness is first self applied then shared with all affected, praying they will accept Anointment.