Today’s find: Fountainhead

I was blessed by my return yesterday to the family’s fountainhead, St. Francis Borgia Church in Washington, Missouri.

Our present call was to bid a prayerful farewell to dear Aunt Carol, the youngest of my mother’s ten siblings – a task accomplished in exceptional fashion, thanks to the loving and thoughtful tributes paid to a wonderful woman by my cousins, their children and the parish staff.

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Out back of SFB, the post-funeral celebration commences among Mom and part of the clan.

As I joined in the celebration, I found myself marveling at how deeply Carol’s love had touched so many lives. I knew it myself. I’ve known it for decades. Some of my earliest memories, in fact, are of how Aunt Carol kibbitzed with my big brother and me in the living room of our parents’ home. What does a 3- or 4-year-old understand, really – except that it’s an amazing thing, to be cherished by this fun-loving woman, almost as much as we were treasured by our own Mom & Dad… (Thanks for all those early giggles, Aunt Carol…they’ve lasted my entire life!)

It was no less marvelous to consider how Carol’s love had shaped the lives of dozens of others – including the “perfect strangers” seated just across the aisle, Carol’s grandchildren and great-granchildren. You could see they deeply mourned her passing. Which is not surprising at all, given how freely she dispensed life-giving grace to those she encountered throughout her 84 years on earth. Surely, her family got the very best of what she had to give…but the rest of us, remarkably, never felt slighted in the least by the love she showered on us as well.

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You had so much love to share! Thanks, Aunt Carol!

Grace upon grace, indeed.

And it was Father Tony who reminded me how central, how essential, how pivotal this very place had been to the unfolding of Carol’s life of love. This very church, he pointed out, was where Carol had been baptized, reborn into the life of Christ. It is where she first consumed the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. It is where she was confirmed, and later, where she entered into the sacrament of matrimony.  

This church building was, in short, the fountainhead for Carol…and, I realized, for me – because my own mother had experienced all those very same sacramental blessings in this very place. It all started here.

Which is not to say St. Francis Borgia Church has anything like a corner on sacramental grace. But it does provide something like a portal on a great mystery, I think…especially when we come back together – this large, loving family of ours. It offers us a focal point, a chance to lift our eyes and see how God is faithful to us. How God’s providence has been poured out on us, through the lives of saints like Aunt Carol and all her wonderful siblings.

And as we lift our eyes, we raise our voices, too…and join in grateful praise with the Psalmist for all that God has done for us:

Fill us at daybreak with Your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days. And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours.

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Aunt Rosemary and Mom, you too are constant reminders of the sweet melody of grace in our lives — just like your dear sister, Carol.

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This crew is blessed beyond measure, we know, by how our parents have lived out God’s grace in their lives.

Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.

IHS

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Today’s find: Fountainhead

  1. Mary Jost

    Oh yes John. I am one of 11 and number 5 but differently agree with you of the influence and difference we can make in all people we encounter!
    God bless… Mary Jost

    • Thank you, Mary. Our Mom is #6, but always considers herself to be the “middle child” in the clan. I guess #5 and #6 will really never be able to settle the issue…😇

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