09 September 2008

Necrology ... or, On the Shoulders of Giants

After dinner each night, the leader of prayer reads the names of those friars from our "conference" (all of America, Canada, Australian and associated vice provinces) who passed away the next day.  If the deceased was from the province of St. Mary's, a sort of obituary, or necrology, describing his assignments and ministry is read.  Far from morbid or sad, this time really is a celebration of life.  

Perhaps even more importantly, however, it's a great reminder of being part of something much greater than simply ourselves.  Surely, this ritual is a nice way of remembering those who have come before us, but it's also a guide, an example presented to us, that says: this is how to do it.  

Not necessarily a guide as to how to minister, how to pray or anything so specific as that, but rather how to be a brother, how to be a lesser person in public to be greater in His eyes.  That's why I think we read the necrology - that's why we're here.  So that in 30, 40, 50 years or more, an unsure postulant will hear our story and know that they're on the shoulders of giants.  Not giants of perfection, but giants of emptiness, now filled up.

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