Friday, November 13, 2009


The Celtic Canadian singer-songwriter Loreen McKennitt, on her CD "The Book of Secrets," has a final song titled "Dante's Prayer." The refrain is:
Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me.

We are preparing to celebrate this evening our annual Memorial Mass: a liturgical remembrance of those in or connected to our parish family who have died in the last 12 months. As candles are brought forward to the altar in memory of each of the people commemorated, we sing the Taize chant "Jesus, Remember Me." There is poignance here that for me is deeply touching and overwhelming. It was one of the songs done at my Mother's funeral in 2005. It was a favorite of hers. I think of it every summer (among many other times) when I visit the family graves to pray, and to remember.

"Jesus, remember me..." Whether it is cried out in desperate hope by the "good thief" on his own cross, dying along with our Savior, whether it is sung at a memorial or chanted on Good Friday, it is a refrain we all can enter into with overwhelming passion: remember me, Jesus; don't let me slide into the realm of oblivion (which by the meaning of the word is the realm of those who are forgotten). I am small and pathetic; I have failed over and over; I have accomplished little. But Jesus--please remember me...

We say this even to friends when there are partings (and who knows about partings more than military families, or priests?)--let's not lose touch, let's keep in contact, let's get together some... We know all the phrases, and sometimes we can make them work. Sometimes, too, after a long absence, we encounter old friends and are able to pick up just where we left off with love, conversation, teasing, laughing: what an incredible blessing. And sometimes, too, even after a short separation, it seems as though an incredible abyss has caused our ways to part forever.

We want love to endure. We want, we need, to be remembered, and we need to remember. One of the essential aspects of Eucharist is that of "memorial," of recalling the past and making it a living presence, a Real Presecne, now. It was virtually Jesus' last word to His friends: "Do this in remembrance of Me."

And so we remember, and we beg to be remembered. Tonight we will remember. And we will beg for that gift which means we will have an eternal life in Him. He will remember us; in Him we will live. "Jesus, remember me..." When the dark night seems endless, please remember me.

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