April 7, 2013

Sanctifying Sunday: Fragility

For some good ol' Sunday meat, Matt is here... 

This week I read something that has been echoing over and over in me.  When I say "echo" I really mean ECHO CHO O o o.  Especially in light of the celebration of Easter and it's relevance in my life.  

The quote read: 
“We are born in extreme fragility, and we die in extreme fragility.Throughout our lives we remain vulnerable,and at risk of being wounded. Each child is so vulnerable, so fragile and without any defenses!” Jean Vanier

Fr. Stan, a great priest friend of mine that I have known for years, has always been intrigued by words and their meanings.  In conversations with him he would always try to get to the root of a message by diving into a word's meaning and he would preface a word's definition by saying, "I consulted with Br. Webster, and he says that the word X is a noun/verb which means..."  I can actually hear him say that in his in New York accent!

Father Stan
So in imitation, the best form of flattery,  I consulted with Br. Webster, and he says that the word "echo" is a verb and a noun (I'm focusing on the verb) which means to 1. repeat or imitate, or 2. to send back (a sound) by the reflection of sound waves.

Back to this message that has been repeating itself, bouncing off of everything and sending itself back to me. This notion of fragility or as Br. Webster says, "easily broken or destroyed" is echoing, bouncing off of all my conversations, interactions, and reflections.

The resurrection of Jesus magnifies this message a hundred fold.  My considerations of Jesus' rising from the dead brings me to this "fragility" that seems to lurk behind every corner even when we chose to ignore what lies behind the next turn. Though often not spoken about, it is a primal experience shared by all.
I imagine the definition of security as we know it is a relatively new presupposition conjured up by "First World" talismans.  This notion of security is a false notion that goes beyond the pale.  Consider the instability that we exist in and the facade of security that we embrace.  We need food, so we run to the store. We need money and we run to the ATM. We need a relationship and run to the internet to find a mate or a distraction... The reality in which we live is really insecure, which is magnified by events like 9/11, the financial crisis, and the increasing gulf that seperates the rich and the poor.  The reality that really exists when the veil of "security" is torn away is a world torn by strife and fear.  

If events like those don't reveal the fragility of life, then certainly the thought of "what comes next", the ULTIMATE SECURITY DESTROYER, will shatter all illusions when one considers what comes after his last breath.
My first memory of the fragility of life occurred when I was a young boy. I remember walking down the cold marble center isle of St. Monica's with my Grandfather Jindra in a casket.  I don't have vivid memories, but the memories I do have flash still today with a cold shiver.  I recall thinking to myself: "Where did he go? He's here but he's not here, where is he?" The cold of the marble sent a reverberation through me.  

Another memory that insists itself is the death of one of my best friend's mom in high school.  I saw my friend's mom fight, struggle and finally succumb to cancer.  I saw her shrivel up and become skeleton like.  I knew I had to go to the wake and funeral.  Rybinski Funeral Home was at the end of my street.  But, it's what I didn't know that brought the fragility of life so close to me.  
I walked into the funeral home and it had that fragrance of old perfume and coffee seeping in from the basement.  My parents had asked if I wanted them to go with me and I kindly declined their request.  I was 15 and wanted to go alone. 

I waited in the condolence line. I paid my condolences with a simple "I'm sorry" and waited for my turn to kneel at the casket and pray for the deceased.  To my utter horror, as I knelt down I did not recognize the woman in the coffin.  She was not a skeleton like human being that I saw just two weeks before.  She was bloated and beyond recognition.  I lost my breath and felt as if everyone was watching me from behind. I stayed there for a few moments and gazed up and down her body with her rosary in her hands. I got up and walked straight for the exit and walked home, and then kept on walking around the block in a zombie like trance. I'm not sure when I finally went home.  

So, it's with these lenses of fragility that I look upon the resurrection of Jesus and hear the echo of extreme relevance in my life.  Maybe the false security of the "first world" has numbed the masses, and me for that matter, of the relevance of the resurrection.  But, the fragility of life will continue to break through the facade of security one way or another.  And for this reason I am thankful for Jesus' resurrection from the dead.       

1 comment :

Please leave a comment, I la la love to hear from you!