Tag Archives: Funeral

Day 20: The Catholic Mass

 


massI went to a funeral today. 

It was beautiful.

I have to say, today…I’m thankful for the Catholic Mass.

Maybe it was because I was feeling emotional, maybe it was because I could actually see the priest, maybe it was because he was so genuine and engaged and passionate.  Whatever the reason, I sat there thinking the Mass is really beautiful.

The way the priest held up the body and blood of Christ and repeated the words that Jesus spoke, “Take this all of you and eat it, this is my body which has been given up for you…when the supper was ended he took the cup, again he gave thanks and praise, handing the cup to his disciples he said…” If you are Catholic, you are reading along with this and can continue to recite the whole thing.  It’s in our heads and in our hearts.

Sometimes, it’s just in our heads.

But today, it was in my heart.  I felt those words.  I felt Jesus saying them.  I felt that bread and wine being transformed.  I was there.  With him.  I felt his love.

I felt His love for me. I felt His love for my dear friend who lost her mom.  I felt His love for her mom.  I pictured her with Jesus at the table in heaven.  I felt Him loving all of us.  Sacrificing for all of us. Saving all of us.

The words we say at Mass aren’t just words.  They are real.  They are powerful. They transform.

So when we lose someone we love and we are sorrowful, we remember His promise that we will be with Him in heaven one day.  We remember the words from John 14:2-4,  “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Can you feel those words?  Can you see that place?  

Can you feel that He goes before us and prepares the way?   

He does.

The Mass ended with “How Great Thou Art” which was amazing.  I found a version on line I had to share.

I hope you can feel it. 

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™  All Rights Reserved

Picture from someecards.com on Pinterest

Stories

14-16“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16 The Message (MSG)

I heard a woman speak the other day.  She and her family have started an organization designed to keep kids of drugs.  She talked about the organization and gave facts and figures but I could tell she was leading up to the real story.  The story of how she lost her son to drugs.  I knew that she was going to tell her story and I got scared.  Scared for her to tell it and scared for me to hear it.  Drugs frighten me and losing a child is the thing I fear most of all.  I sat in fearful anticipation waiting for the story to be told – waiting for the air to be filled with the heartbreaking story of another son lost and another mother broken.

She told her story and she was brave.  She was succinct and purposeful and included details about the how’s and the why’s.  She told the tale as a cautionary tale – she was warning us and our kids.  She was strong.  Her voice only cracked a couple times.  Her tears only bubbled up two or three times.

I pictured her practicing this speech in the mirror.  I pictured her practicing on loved ones. I imagined her writing and rewriting and changing words and hoping and praying she would get it right, hoping and praying that her words would honor her son’s struggle and his life, and that she could convey her love, her grief, her sorrow, her brokenness.  I imagine the rewrites and the agony spent at the keyboard reliving the story.  I imagined the first few times she may have cried the whole way through.  How could you not?

She had to tell the who’s, what’s, why’s and the what to do’s but really her story is about the boy she loved.  Her story is about the baby and the toddler and the grade schooler.  Her story is about the hugs and the laughs and the vacations and the friends.  Her story is about moments together – about tucking him in and kissing him good night. Her story is about holidays and cozy nights by the fire, about board games and puzzles and Legos and sports.  Her story is about family and dreams and safety and all the things she worked to give her son.  Her story is about love.  Her story is my story and that is what scares me so much.  How can her story start out just like my story but end in my worst nightmare?

But now I realize her story did not end there.  In her strength and her wisdom, she has walked through hell and found grace.  It’s amazing to see.  Can our lowest, scariest, most unthinkable moments be the windows for grace in our lives?

I remember reading the book Beautiful Boy by David Sheff and being entranced by it.  I read the follow up book, Tweak, by his son, Nic Sheff and watched the father and son on Oprah with my book club.  I was invested in the story and hoping and praying for Nic’s recovery to be real and lasting.

Her speech reminded me of this book when she mentioned her son had been in rehab 13 times before he died.  That took my breath away.  I imagined the phone calls and the drop off’s and the hope and the waiting and the counseling and the disappointment and the fear and the hope again and the disappointment again.  It was almost too much to bear.

I am honored that she shared her story with us.  I believe she knows something very important.  She knows we need her story.  She knows we need her.

I was at funeral of a friend of mine the other day.  It was so sad to have to say good bye to such a good man.  I sat there thinking, “Why would God take such a young man, such a good father, such a loving husband?”  It doesn’t make sense.  He was amazing and he will be greatly missed.  The priest at the funeral told us that we all have a “holy task” before us.  He said our task is to tell our stories about our friend that passed away- share the stories of him living and loving and laughing and being kind.  This is how he will live on.  This is how we will honor him.  The priest didn’t just say it’s our “task” he said it is our “HOLY task”.

I believe it is our holy task to share our stories…to witness to each other…to share our moments of pain and our moments of grace.  All of our stories are holy…every single one of them.  Especially the ones we are scared to tell and the ones we are scared to hear.

What’s your holy story?

To learn more about one mother’s mission to honor her son’s memory and to help keep kids off of drugs, visit www.saveastar.org
©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved