Friday, November 21, 2014

Feeling Good

It is a great time of year. November is always warmer in New England than people think. Though it is cold these past few days, the temperatures are often invigorating. The cool nights prepares the trees and bushes for winter. The child in me comes out because I love crunching the unraked leaves that fall to the ground. The sounds of the crackling has the effect upon me as bubble wrap has upon others. I can't resist.

The only difficulty with this time of year is the lessened sunlight. Darkness comes too soon. We do not notice it so much because of events around the holiday, but it encroaches upon our day. I cannot imagine life a century ago when electric lights were becoming widely available.

However, the darkening days helps us to be reflective about the direction of our lives and the last things. We begin the month with All Soul's and All Saints Days and it is a fitting time to remember the dead during this last month of the church year. The whole month is dedicated to memorializing our dead who are still alive to God. As we consider our own mortality, we reshape our actions and make adjustments to those things we most value. We cannot help but see ourselves in closer relationship to God, and fortunately we end the month with Thanksgiving, which helps us to be grateful for the ways we are blessed.

In light of the way we focus upon our relationship with God, I feel truly grateful for the ministry of reconciliation - confessions. Last week, I heard the confessions of high school students on a KAIROS retreat. My absolute best prayer is in the first moments when a penitent leaves the confessional. God's presence seems magnified in that period. Above all, I want the person to know of God's far-reaching love for the person before me. Once the person leaves the room, I pray silently for that person to receive God's love, and I know God is also communicating abundant love for me. It is one of the best experiences of priesthood. It is often the feeling one has when leaving an 8- or 30-day retreat.

Speaking of the end of the year, the feast of Christ the King is powerful to me, and I fear that many people do not quite understand the rhythm of the liturgical year because the feast is superseded by Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Advent season. Our entire year is collected by Christ and presented to the Ancient One for blessing and final (positive) judgment. All our struggles and joys from our lifetime are blessed by God and given new meaning. Christ is given by God power over all living things and he has defeated our great enemies - sin and death.

To celebrate this reality, I had a crown put on a molar this week.

Something that I have missed the past week and a half is yoga. I had meetings scheduled during times that yoga classes were offered and my body had been missing the stretching. However, when I arrived for class this morning, I recognized that I missed the guys a great deal too. They have been a bit of a community for me this semester. One guy, as soon as I arrived, invited me for Thanksgiving dinner. That was so kind of him.

During class, I kept thinking that I ought to cook a meal for some of the old-timers because they live alone. One guy will have Chinese food on Thursday. I tried to ask them if they wanted a meal on Wednesday night, but with their lack of hearing and their propensity to talk over one another, I never received a satisfactory answer. I'll try to figure out something to make sure that they have a special day. It is nice to have a holiday home cooked meal.