Sunday, December 27, 2009

A life of purpose

"What is their purpose, what do they live for?"

That question was part of the eulogy at the funeral Mass I attended for Aunt Agatha yesterday. It was asked by her grandson, Brian, who is in the nursing home industry and was a paraphrasing of something he gets asked often by people who wonder about the lives of the elderly, especially those who have buried their spouses and friends. By way of explanation Brian summed up the purpose of all of our lives...

Speaking of his grandmother, Brian recalled the stacks of well-worn prayer books, devotional leaflets, and holy cards on the end table next to Aunt Agatha's chair and on the nightstand next to her bed. He told of the time when Aunt Agatha told him that she prayed every day for her children, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, her nieces and nephews, cousins, other family members and loved ones, both living and dead. He went on to say what an honor it was to have known that there was someone who felt that their purpose in life was to pray for him. And what a gift.

Have you remembered to pray for your loved ones, today?

Oh, and Aunt Agatha wasn't really my aunt. She's my friend Marlon's aunt, but for as long as I've known her I've called her Aunt Agatha. I'll miss her terribly, and I'll think of her each time I get in my car and see the worn spot on the passenger's headrest. The car I drive used to belong to Aunt Agatha and Uncle Joe. It's nice to have such a tangible reminder of her--and of her life's purpose.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and the souls of all the faithfully departed, rest in peace.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

One of the great Christmas traditions at our house was the setting up of "Momma's special Nativity" which usually took place sometime the week of Christmas.

Daddy had given her the pieces to the set over several different Christmases. It's German, hand-carved, and she was attracted to it because it had some 'extra' people around--after all, as she would say, if the heavenly host started singing in the night wouldn't everyone have run out of their house to see what was going on?

Every year we would decide where to display the Nativity, then we would construct the scene--which got more and more elaborate as we got older. It was quite a feat, especially when you realize that none of us had any artistic talent, or construction skills. But it always looked good. And the tradition continued with my youngest nephew and my niece who (as children) helped put the set out for the last few years of my parents' lives.

I inherited the set from my parents. It's one of my most cherished treasures, and it always has pride-0f-place among my Christmas decorations.

And the cat--well, it's a piece that I've added. After all, who ever heard of a barn without a cat?

I hope you all have a very blessed and merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A new year starts...

Did you put up decorations this weekend? What type?

I decorated this weekend, also, but not for Christmas. I know, the Christmas season starts on Black Friday (for the 'traditionalist'--earlier for the non-traditional) but I come from the really, really, really old school. It's not Christmas yet, it's Advent.

Advent. Remember Advent? It's the start of the liturgical year, and a season of preparation--not for the arrival of Santa on his sleigh, but for the birth of Christ. Advent is a season of promise--the promise that Christ is coming--and soon.

It's not too late to decorate for Advent, even if you have put up your Christmas tree. Go grab some candles and create an Advent wreath of some sort. Traditionally the candles are purple and pink, but if all you have is white, well, then, go ahead and use them. Get some purple and pink ribbon and tie a bow around each candle (3 purple, 1 pink). Light the first purple candle with dinner. Remember what season this really is, and prepare yourself for the birth of the King.

(pictured above: this year's Advent wreath)