Sunday, February 23, 2020

Merton Conference Memory '13

It seems I will be writing about Fr. John Eudes for a bit. It would probably bother him to no end.

 In sorting through some of the memories and things from the past years I came across a piece of writing from a kind gentleman named Max, who I met at the Merton conference in Connecticut.

Max was a recent convert to Catholicism , he knew of Fr, I never really understood how, but while Fr and I were walking about the grounds of Sacred Heart University many  would flock to him and sit with him. I realized that Max had a lot of love for father.

Anyway , we hung out and prayed a lot, gathered in a small group. And on one particular morning prior to Mass we were gathered together and realized we were nearly late for a Mass Fr was to be presiding!  In any event, the rush of it all resulted in me having to help this elderly monk get ready.

Max , unbeknownst to me sat observing (quite beautifully, I came to learn)

When I returned home , he had emailed me this description.

It is sitting with me differently now that Fr. Has passed and I'm grateful for it. The moment itself didn't strike me while in it as this powerful, but it is something amazing to bear witness to how the simplest things communicate something beyond us and have a capacity to be as a grace for another.

"His face browned and creased with time, revealing German and Irish stock that had moved to Kentucky generations ago, He interrupts the conversation: “I need to get to Mass.” She helps gather his things. Her midnight hair falls softly off her shoulder as she reaches to hand the monk his cane.

We begin, unsure of the best way to the chapel, past the green lawns, the deep purple blossoms. His steps are careful, but impatient.

Entering the side of the chapel, John Eudes hurries into the sacristy. We help with the vestments: he is not a tall man; the alb is too long. She finds a shorter one. The monk slips into the alb, pulling his Trappist hood out fully. The alb is the proper length, but the black scapular makes the collar sit too tight. She unsnaps the top button. We find a cincture to pull sides of the alb together, but it still falls apart at the unsnapped neck.

Catherine is concerned. She fusses over him. There are layers upon layers of tenderness. She chides him for being scruffy and disheveled. Her hazel eyes flash. He laughs, somewhat embarrassed by the attention: “only a woman would pay attention to this kind of detail.” Her gentle fingers straighten the collar, delivering a blessing to the priest. He is her teacher. She is his daughter. But this is not complex: loving kindness.Spiritus Sanctus. His gentleness meets hers. The young woman is radiant; the monk beams. The light shines from within. It fills the room.

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