Sunday, July 13, 2008

You can be all flame

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, “Abba,
as far as I can, I say my [daily] office, I fast a little, I pray
and meditate. I live in peace as far as I can. I purify my
thoughts. What else can I do?”

Then the old man stood up, stretched his arms towards
heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he
said to him, “If you want, you can be all flame.”

That was the conclusion of the homily at my sister's wedding yesterday. The priest giving the homily, who had studied the Desert Fathers and Mothers extensively, prefaced the quotation with the observation that it would have been inconceivable for the author that his text would have been quoted in the 21st century at a wedding of all places. Nonetheless, he correctly noted that the recognition of the sacramental quality of marriage makes it eminently appropriate. I concur that I cannot think of a better wish for the newly-married couple than that the grace of the Sacrament will brighten day after day.

I am optimistic that this will be the case, particularly because I believe they will have someone special interceding for them. My new brother-in-law falls into a rare category, in that he is the son of a married, Latin-rite Catholic priest. Alas, Fr. John succumbed to cancer about two years ago, but I have no doubt that he will give his special solicitude for the union of Kristin and Michael. And as a ex-Marine and Black Sabbath fan, Fr. John will certainly be a formidable opponent for any demons that might beset them!

If any reader wishes to offer prayers for the newlyweds, for the repose of Fr. John, and for the comfort of his widow Carol, please know that they will be appreciated.