“Keep Death and Judgment always in your Eye;
None are fit to live, who are not fit do die;
Make use of present time, because you must
Take up your Lodging shortly in the Dust.
Tis dreadful to behold the setting Sun,
And Night approaching ere your Work be done.”
I know most of you must be expecting me to give some great big St. Patrick Day mashup with my Lenten focus on memento mori (remember thy death), but I don’t need to make something up...it’s already done. If you travel through any part of Ireland, you will always find an old graveyard where amongst the craggy cairns and crooked tombstones you will find old stone carvings of remembrances of death and life, tragedy and hope. The Irish have always placed all their hope upon their Catholic faith. It is how they survived centuries of enslavement, persecutions and the penal days when they were forbidden to show signs of their Roman Catholic faith by the British authorities. It was common in the 14th to 18th centuries to feature symbols and/or writings of memento mori upon one’s grave. Back then, it was a lot easier to be fatally struck down with ill health, poverty or abuse from authorities and therefore, memento mori served as a reminder to all that death could arrive within the hour, so they had to constantly remind themselves to make the most of life by choosing a life in Christ. The engraving (above picture) was found within the churchyard of St. John the Baptist in Ireland for a young couple and their two babies so that the family might have hope even in the midst of their tears.
This week our parish day school is keeping St. Patrick Day around a little longer by their amazing performance of The Music Man. The beloved Irish widow & mother of Marian and Winthrop (“Gary Indiana” & “The Wells Fargo Wagon”) will join Harold Hill and 110 other talented children (and all those sacrificial and gifted volunteer adults). Thank you to all our benefactors of our school’s Arts Program. You help make their gifts shine.
Perhaps one of the most important parts of Lent is being offered this Wednesday (20th) from 5:00-8:00 p.m. as our entire diocese will have every Church door open to share in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Come and share in Jesus’ merciful love. Can’t wait to celebrate it all with you!
Pax, Fr. Bline