Today’s rant is best read after reading the poem Last Supper which we have included in today’s newsletter.

In this poem I remember the last time I spoke with my beloved Mum, at least the last time I have spoken to her in her earthly existence, though since she has gone to God I speak to her often.

I guess even that immediate notion is one that some people may find strange. In fact it brings us into the core of our faith and one which we often pray at Mass, namely ‘the communion of saints.’ I am mindful of those who do not believe. I realise there are people who believe that death is the
end. Full Stop. Death and then… nothing. Whilst I respect people’s freedom to believe or not to believe, I must admit I find the notion of life without God difficult to grasp.

I dug out this poem about my Mum’s death conscious that November is the special month in the year when we remember our beloved dead. Though for us who are trying to live a life of faith it is not just about remembering but actually praying for and sometimes to, those who have gone before us. The poem refers to the Sunday before she died. In fact when she was dying I was celebrating Mass in my last parish, St. Matthew’s. It was Divine Mercy Sunday. When I was rushing away from the parish an elderly parishioner shouted over to me ‘don’t worry Father, it’s Divine Mercy Sunday, the Lord will see her through’. A few days later when I returned after her funeral I met the same man and he found it hard to look at me and he turned sheepishly away. I went over to him and thanked him and assured him that the Lord had in his mercy ‘seen her through’. Through to his kingdom. Through to joy.

In a sense her death was sudden. Yet in some ways she had flagged it for us and herself. Of course we have only one mum and in a sense there is no preparation for her final breath. In the few years since, there are times when it’s still difficult to believe that she has died. Of course there have been dark days dogged with regret and onging. Thankfully amidst all this her legacy is one of love and laughter.

I look forward to connecting again with her in that new way beyond our imaginings in God-space. I trust in the promise of Jesus that there’s plenty of room there and it’s full of love and joy and peace.

I am excited about how the heavenly Bridie will be. I’d say I’ll be bowled over when I encounter my lovely Mum in her renewed and glorified state. Bridie without pain, sickness or suffering. The sinless Bridie. The Bridie that now shares in and is part of the Risen Jesus. Yes that will be something…

For now I enjoy glimpses of her on Tramore beach or up at Ballycastle. She shared a love for wet wintry evenings with my brother Larry. I smile at other’s attempts to make caramel shortbread as perfect as hers. Sometimes I see her in kinks of laughter….

Let’s pray for them all this November. Fraternally, Joe McD.


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