“Why don’t you go to seminary?”
I was standing in my Mom’s kitchen. We had just been talking about some things I was learning in my study of the Scriptures.
We did that a lot — talked about theology, Christ, G‑d, predestination, free will, church history, etc. You name it, if it was about our walks with Christ, we talked about it.
For the most part.
Obviously there were times when we didn’t see eye-to-eye about things, but those times were very few and far between. She always had a way of asking the right question in the right way to make me dig deeper and try a little harder at making complicated things easier to understand.
I remember one time (and no, it wasn’t at band camp) I was publishing a monthly newsletter. In it I chronicled my understandings about “end-times” (eschatology) and “salvation” (soteriology). I always gave her a copy. “What’d you think?” I regularly sought her feedback and input.
“Well, it was good for the first couple of paragraphs but after that, you lost me.”
“What? I broke it down the best I could!” I said shaking my head.
I would then go back and rewrite and rewrite, trying to make what I was saying easier to follow. I still do that to this day, a practice that I will forever cherish because it makes me think of my Mom.
When Mom was in the hospital, we had a chrysalis on a plant in our home. We didn’t know what type of insect it was. When my Mom passed over to the Otherworld through that thin veil that separates us from G‑d’s Realm, the chrysalis opened and a monarch butterfly emerged. When we went to Mom’s burial, there were monarch’s all over the place. We like to think of it as Mom’s way of letting us know that she’s alive and that “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well” (Julian of Norwich, c. 1416).
A number of years after she died, I was sitting in a parish church awaiting my turn to receive the Eucharist. As I waited, I asked G‑d for a sign. I wanted to be sure that I should become a priest. As I was praying, the choir started singing my Mom’s favorite hymn, How Great Thou Art. I took it as G‑d’s sign and Mom’s assurance that, yes, I should become a priest. I was ordained a priest in 2011.
This past Saturday was St. Francis’ Feast day (04 October). I officiated over the pet blessings and Eucharist at St. Francis of the Woods. Before the service, I found a little circle of oak trees and walked into the center for prayer — just a simple prayer asking for G‑d’s presence and guidance and grace. As I made my way back to the outdoor spot we were going to have for the service, a monarch butterfly fluttered into my face and danced away. A gentle reminder that my Mom was with me, too.
Today, on the day of Mom’s passing from our realm to G‑d’s Realm, I’m thankful for the ways she continues to support me and guide me. I’m thankful for her continued prayers and comfort. But most of all, I’m thankful for the time when I will get to see her face-to-face. Until then, I keep my eyes and ears open for her love and light.
Oh look! A monarch!
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC