|Hosted this week at Betty Beguiles|
My grandmother's funeral is today. I am already missing her terribly. Since I moved to Texas, I had the opportunity to get to know her, adult to adult. We were alike in many ways, especially in our humor. What a delight she has always been in my life. Memories will have to serve somehow.
My children will be attending the funeral. As my husband is a pall bearer, we decided to bring a babysitter to serve as a "second pair of eyes." Even though we only have five children, one of them can respond unpredictably, so we tend to do things a little differently than other families. Being "in church" is predictable and structured, so my son with Autism understands what to expect and how to respond. The looser structure of mingling after the services can be difficult for him to manage. Socializing is a foreign language and he tends to leave when he feels overwhelmed by social cues. Usually my husband or I stay with the other four if the other has to dash off in a sudden chase, but he will be occupied in those transitional moments today. Hence today's sitter.
We spent a year attending Daily Mass around our diocese in order to help my kids understand how to behave in church. Once a week wasn't enough for our family, so we spread our noisiness among several churches and went six. Other than having to stand in a vestibule rather than sitting, kneeling, and standing in Mass, there were no real consequences for my kids. Over time, each one of them began to grow quieter and more reverent. The other attendees not only tolerated my children, they taught them by example. For the most part, due to that year, we can "do church."
"Doing church" may become an anachronistic skill in their lifetimes, if not mine. The Catholic Church has seen governments come and governments go. She has endured persecutions for 2,000 years. Her scholars and visionaries have been quietly pondering if it is time to begin ringing the alarm about us, in this country. As the present media debate has been turned from stunned disbelief that our government would dare to redefine religious freedoms by a Presidential mandate to squabbling over birth control, I will leave you with a 2010 prediction from Cardinal Francis Eugene George, Archbishop of Chicago, "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square."
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On a much lighter note, have I told you recently about my love of maps? One day while perusing Google Maps, I discovered that Bethlehem is five miles from Jerusalem. I'd always wondered why Joseph and Mary had seemed to hang around Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus. Today I discovered that there is some sort of church located on the corner of Nelson Mandela Ave and Nelson Mandela Ave in Harare, Zimbabwe. Go to the link and then put the guy at the intersection. I will have to ask my friend who lives near there what the church is, but it takes him a few days to get back to me, their Internet being so iffy. Anybody know?
It isn't often that a blogger gives her readers a homework assignment, but that's what we used to call "Value Added" back in my pre-schoolteacher days in marketing.
Today's services were beautiful. The songs were like echoes of my youth: four part harmony from a congregation singing a capella. Sweetness and light, like a gift. Thank you Mawmaw.