Ives was sitting beside Annie in his old neighborhood church on another Christmas Day looking up at the altar. There were vases with dozens of orchids on either side of the chalice and pots of blossoms set out on the marble floors and against the columns, garlands of ivy strung along the gallery above. In the choir stall they had installed the creche with its figures of the shepherds and kings and angels on high and the Holy Family inside the stable, the baby Jesus, the light of this world, at its center. And they had covered the roof of the stable with evergreen boughs and someone had burned fragrant incense. That morning as Ives first walked into the sanctuary again, hat in his hand and with his wife by his side, he remembered that beautiful and familiar glory.
Ives has forgiven his son's killer. He has rekindled his passion for his wife. At seventy-five, he has found God's love in his life again. He can go into church, sit in a pew, and not be tormented by anger and sorrow. In the church where his son's funeral was held, Ives only senses God's beautiful and familiar glory. Life is finally good for him again.
It's not easy to trust in God all the time. It should be, but it isn't. Human beings want to control their lives, and, when something terrible happens (something unplanned), we struggle, as Ives does, with sorrow and confusion and, sometimes, anger. I have lived in that state before. In fact, I think I still sublet a condo there. It's a dark place, with a terrible view of the outside world.
Today, I am in a good place, for the most part. It's Saturday. Tonight, I will go to Mass, play the pipe organ, and say the familiar prayers. I have two days without the stress and worry of work. That is a blessing. For the next 48 hours, I can be with my wife and kids, read, write, and trust in God. (Come Monday, all bets are off.) But, that is God's love number twenty-five for me: two days of rest, love, and faith. I'll take it.
Saint Marty has one more Darrell Bourque poem for you. It's about guilt and confession (or not confessing). Perfect for Lent.
by: Darrell Bourque
Since that afternoon years ago
when my mother put us on our knees
and told us she was leaving,
I have placed myself in the world,
measured myself against the horizon,
let the sky cover me like some angel bird
hovering. I have seen wide ribbons
of pine making a trot-line at the earth’s edge.
I have studied things up close: stunted trees
growing out of rock. I have gone beyond
tree lines where grasses open seedpods
like prayers. I have stood at the water’s
edge and wobbled, and still no one
knows who knifed the unreadable lettering
on my mother’s new cedar chifferobe
that day. She and my father drove to town
to buy garfish for our usual Friday supper
at my aunt’s house. We were questioned again
on her return but no one confessed—through
the fish cleaning, the seasoning, the frying.
I can’t remember when exactly we laughed
and ran through the yard with our cousins.
It was night when we went home. We were happy.
Just last week, some fifty years later,
one of us brings it up in mother’s
presence. She has not walked for years
and it is no big matter to her now,
but none of us are fessing up today either.
We all know who didn’t do it,
and one of us knows who did.
Confessions of Saint Marty