Friday, April 22, 2011

Our good bishop's sermon last night

The church was packed... and the altar boys, deacons and clergy worked in studied choreography in their starched, ironed surplices. The incense here is the best I have ever smelled, a heavenly scent that filled the church and our hearts with a longing for God. The men's choir sang the Latin a Capella hymns we all love from childhood... truly it was a gorgeous celebration of the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the great feast of the Institution of the Eucharist.

And our good bishop's words in the sermon... they had the power to pierce our hardened hearts, because they came from a true and humble heart in love with the Eucharistic Lord. He spoke of the washing of the feet and how he has commissioned a new sculpture of this humblest of Jesus' actions to be above his bishop's chair in our soon to be re-opened newly restored cathedral, to remind him of what his role is as a bishop: to serve.

He proceeded then to retell the story of the great fire at Saint Raphael's in Madison, WI, when he was still there and not our bishop yet. We all felt we were living it, and he took us to the horrors of seeing his dear cathedral in flames, and his concern or the Tabernacle on the Body of Christ in the fire. He spoke to the firefighters, he said, who did not give him permission to enter the building, but allowed him to come to the door to show them the general location of the tabernacle. One firefighter, a Catholic, he said, led a team into the burning building, and after a few minutes, our bishop, who had wept in sadness for the horrific spectacle in front of him, wept again, this time for joy, as the firefighters proceeded out from the smoke and flames, reverently, carrying the ciborium containing Our Lord.

His voice broke, he choked in his own emotional remembrance, and our tears emerged, the entire body of the faithful rapt in his words and re-living his love for the Eucharist in the unforgettable event. The Tantum Ergo and his solemn leading of the Eucharistic Procession at the end of Mass only served to enhance this love in our hearts.

Thank You, Jesus, today of all days, for our good Bishop, for the Eucharist, for our Salvation.


Katie said...

Thank you for sharing, Ana. That was a beautiful post; the story about the fire gave me goosebumps.

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

I know... I just had to share it!