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Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Little Things

Sometimes, it is the loss of little things which cause the heart to hurt the most.

Like my rosary case, made by a woman in one of my old parishes, or a badge someone gave me for a joke, or a scarf left behind. Or a holy card with a relic which has been in the family for a hundred years...

We prepare ourselves for illness, old age, and death, but God helps us face death by allowing the loss of the small.

The small reminds us of a personal encounter which, although short, was meaningful and even numinous. The small reminds us how vulnerable life is.

Sometimes the small is important, like a bronze medal of St. Benedict, the great Benedictine medal, I bought in Canada in 2001 and have lost. I have not seen the like again and most likely, as it was solid bronze, would not be able to afford one now.

Or the small Infant of Prague statue I had since I was very young and went missing in a move, or the little photo of my dead sister which is missing and perhaps in a box somewhere in Illinois.

Small is beautiful. Small teaches me to be even more simple and more humble. I think of St. Therese's room or St. Bernard's cell, with only the bare necessities.

But, losing things or misplacing them reminds me mostly of my own fragile life, a life like that of a leaf, green then gold, then red and brown, dying slowly over a period of time, but dying for sure.

Death may be the greatest mystery, after Love. We cannot avoid it, and we cannot pretend that we are prepared to meet whatever context in which God chooses to allow Death to come.

The smallest moments of our lives will be the last closing moments in which we again may remember the lost medal, or the lost rosary case, and think of those whom we have loved and lost.

God prepares us for that moment in many ways and loss is merely one...