On our retreat one of our members shared with us the account of a monk at a Monastery whose responsibility was the tending of the graves in the Monastery Cemetery. One grave had no headstone, but the monk had placed flowers on it along with the other graves. Why? It was his own grave and he lived with a sense of his own mortality and the hope of eternal life. We are all marching towards that eternal light.
This was sharply focused on our last Morning Prayer with the Sisters in the Monastery Chapel. I drove from the Retreat Center to the Monastery with one of our members who has a little difficulty walking, only to find some confusion. The Monastery door was locked and no-one was available to answer the bell. We walked around to another entrance, up a short flight of stairs, and headed for the elevator to the Monastery Chapel.
The elevator door opened immediately but the elevator was full; three paramedics and one of the Sisters were accompanying an older Sister who was strapped into a gurney. As they came out of the elevator and passed by us the older Sister on the gurney smiled pleasantly at us and said, “Good morning,” almost as though there was nothing wrong.
Morning Prayer had already begun when we took our seats. The Sisters were singing the Morning Hymn and as they began to chant the Psalm I could hear the “beep, beep, beep” of the ambulance backing up and bearing the older Sister away. Apparently her blood pressure had shot up to 200.
Together, Sisters and Oblates, we continued to sing Morning Prayer. We are all of us marching towards the light and our heavenly home. God grant us the grace, like the Sisters of St. Scholastica, to continue marching towards the light unafraid, with a song on our lips, and our hearts fixed on the Resurrected Christ in whom is all our trust and hope.