Long past bedtime on Wednesday evening, Francis persisted in teaching his Gramps a brand new cheer.
Turns out, we needed to add a little something special to the “Let’s go, Blues!” chant Francis learned from his Daddy and his PawPaw almost as soon as he learned to speak.
Following a thrilling Game 7 win, it was time for the two of us to let loose with an exhilarating variation on that time-honored theme:
“Let’s go Stanley Cup Champion Blues!”
A magical moment, no doubt.
And filled with a humbling irony for this ol’ Gramps – that I’d be the one who got the first victory snuggle from our loyal little fan. I’m very much a late addition to the Blues bandwagon, you see. But with Daddy out of town on a business trip…the watch-party wound up at our house, and a low-key-but-joyful celebration ensued.
In the days since the big win, I’ve noticed something odd: How even a hockey curmudgeon like me can’t help but get caught up in the excitement. A championship 52-years-in-the-making tends to take a city by storm. Pent-up sports angst gets swept away…as if a giant Zamboni were moving through town, smoothing over generations of hockey frustration.
True Blues fans can cite chapter-and-verse regarding the indignities they’ve suffered during the past half-century. The Cup, though, seems to have wiped the slate clean. The chance to behold (and perhaps even hold) the chalice has made it all worth the wait.
Surely, it’s a sentiment the Apostle Paul could appreciate. I was thinking about that as I heard this passage from his second letter to the Corinthians proclaimed at Mass today:
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed;
St. Paul wants to teach us a fundamental truth about life – and salvation – namely, that we are:
…always carrying about in the Body the dying of Jesus…
First, the death. And then the resurrection. Suffering is not the end of the story for those who know God, because they also know this:
…that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus…so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
Around these parts, a cherished trophy has brought the lesson home in a special way this week. The Stanley Cup. Not an earthen vessel, perhaps, but a reminder of what we ought to treasure most – even as our hearts burst forth in a never-ending chorus of “Gloria!”
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.