Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Thirty days

Every school, club, sport team, family and even work places have rituals and traditions. Hopefully, if they are sincere and faithful to them, these times become an important part of the life of the group.

Being Benedictines, forerunners in liturgical movements since the Middle Ages, our rituals and traditions are a rich and significant part of our community life. Here's a very small but much-treasured one that we have. It only lasts a month at a time, so if you're not here or you're here but don't notice it, it could go right past you. But, for us, it marks a very special time.

For the first month after one of our sisters passes away we place a small, round table right at the entrance to our chapel space. On the table is a candle that is lit during every prayer time. An acrylic frame holds a sheet on which we read the words:

This candle burns
for thirty days
in memory
of our sister
who shared her life
with us
in community
until her death
May peace eternal be hers!

This one has about 5-6 days to go and has been a beautiful reminder for me and many others, I'm sure, of the life of Sr. Maureen who died in January. One sister has kept a vase of fresh flowers on the table, too. (Where she finds these in the middle of an Erie winter is a mystery to me!)

I think after the 30 days I will steal away the little table, along with the candle, frame and vase for fresh flowers and place them in my room for the next 30 days---no, I think 300 days.