Wednesday, September 14, 2016

366 Project - Day 258 - "Tearful Prayers"


September 14, 2016 - "Tearful Prayers"

Every morning I kneel at my little prayer altar and pray.

I pray the Lauds (Morning Prayers) of the Liturgy of the Hours...

I make a Morning Offering to Jesus...

I re-dedicate myself to the Blessed Virgin Mary...

I pray to St. Joseph, my Patron Saint...

I pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus...

I pray for the Holy Father and all of the clergy...

Then I pray for the souls of all of the loved ones I have lost.

"For the souls of our dearly departed... Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may Your Perpetual Light shine upon the soul of..."

Then I start naming those I've lost. I always name my brother Peter first... followed by my sister-in-law... my six nieces and nephews... my four grandparents... and several other specific loved ones - all by name.

This morning was different though. This morning was very different.

"For the souls of our dearly departed... Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may Your Perpetual Light shine upon the soul of my brother Peter... my sis..."

And then it hit me. It hit me very hard. I had just said my brother's name in a prayer for the dead.

I was frozen with that realization. Next month will mark a year and-a-half since his death... and I've prayed this exact prayer with his name in it over five hundred times now - yet today the reality of it hit me like a ton of bricks: My brother is dead. He is not coming back.

Tears started flowing... and I struggled to catch my breath as I continued through that prayer and all of the prayers I say in the morning. The "Pater Noster", "Ave, Maria" and "Gloria Patri"... which I'm usually able to say in less than a minute combined - seemed to take an eternity to get through. By the time I was done I was drenched with tears and both my head and heart were pounding.

Today is not a significant date as far as any sort of memory having to do with my brother. Yes, next week will mark what would have been his 51st birthday - but that has nothing to do with "today". So why is it "today" - almost eighteen months after the fact - that I suddenly get hit with such an incredibly deep realization of what his death means? Why "today"?

I don't know.

Today is the day the Catholic Church celebrates the "Exaltation of The Cross". The Gospel Reading for today's Mass contains one of the most well-known and important verses in Catholicism (John 3:16)...

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

"No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." - John 3:13-17

Today, meditating on the Triumph of the Cross, I came to the realization that my brother is NOT dead... rather he has gained eternal life. Some day I will see and embrace him again. Until that day comes I must take up my Cross... lift it high... and proclaim the love of Christ.

"We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You... because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world."

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