My mother was a writer. Now notice I did not say she was an author: she did not write any books. . . but she was a passionate letter writer.
I left home for college when I was 18 and my mother died when I was 58. . . and in those intervening 40 years – like clockwork – my mother – faithfully wrote me a letter twice a month.
Letters that were filled with information about what was going on in my family, in the parish, on the farm, and in the neighborhood. What was going on with my dad, my siblings, my aunts, uncles, and cousins, my nieces and nephews.
What meetings or social gatherings she had gone to - and one of her favorite things to write about - detailed lists of the food served at these events.
All of these letters were handwritten with a neat penmanship, which unfortunately none of her children inherited.
When I am really missing my mom, as still happens from time to time – I will get one box of many out of the closet - and sit and read a letter or two my mother wrote me 10 - 20 - or 40 years ago.
Dr. Alan Wolfelt, a nationally known speaker on bereavement – calls those letters of mine a “linking object” I have with my mother. Something I can pick up and read which immediately connects me with my mother.
Linking objects come in all shapes and sizes. That’s why I kept a cooking pot of my mother’s, several tools of my father’s, a jigsaw puzzle of my sister’s — along with pictures, and other sentimental items: from grandparents, friends, and others I have lost through the years.
When we miss those we love – there is a need to foster a connection with them in some way - to ease the pain, lessen the hurt, and heal the heart.
“When Jesus had said these things while the disciples were looking on – he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”
The disciples then went through what we all go through when we loose someone we love - they grieved. And then they had to begin looking for ways to continue fostering a connection to Jesus: some way to ease the pain, lessen the hurt, and heal the heart: because of his physical absence.
What did they do? We heard about some of the things they did as we read the Acts of the Apostles during this Easter season – things they did to keep the spirit of Jesus alive and well among them.
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers.
They praised God and enjoyed favor with all people. [2 Easter]
They repented of their sins and were Baptized.
They followed the example of Christ and walked in his footsteps. [4 Easter]
To keep the spirit of Jesus alive and well among them - they devoted themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.
They continued to spread the word of God so that the numbers of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly.
They formed themselves into a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own: and announced their praises of God. [5 Easter]
They gave an explanation to anyone who asked them for a reason for their hope.
And they suffered for doing good - if that was the will of God. [6 Easter]
And most fortunate for us – as the early followers of Jesus began to be martyred and die off – they began writing the stories of Jesus down instead of just telling them to one another, and they preserved the letters written by St. Paul and others to the early Chrsitian communities — giving us what would become the New Testament. So that just like those letters my mom wrote – we modern-day Chrstians would have a linking object to Jesus and to the early Church communities.
All so we would know how to keep the spirit of Jesus alive and well among us – by devoting ourselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers – and all the many other things they did.
And like those in the early Church - we now await the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that we might become sharers of Christ’s divinity.
And so our prayer these next few days should be: Come Holy Ghost, creator blest -
And in our hearts take up they rest.
So that we can go out to the world - and preach the cross where Christ renews life’s worth. And seeking God’s presence in each time and space. AMEN!
Moments in time...