Tonight or last night depending on when you’re reading this, I joined many of the parents and benefactors of our Holy Family School & Preschool ministry for a wonderful night of “Murder at Plantation Hall”! Nothing says fun like a little ‘who dunnit?’ The annual HFS Gala & Auction is always an enjoyable evening.
My mom is an avid reader and her favorite genre is the murder mystery. She has read them all! From the classics of Agatha Christie (pictured left) and Hercule Poirot to modern Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. I grew up with Murder She Wrote and PBS Masterpiece Theater playing on the TV. I have to admit I used to question my mom’s fascination with murder mysteries. She is rather docile and gentle, so the constant encounter with death and dying seemed out of sort. But I came to realize it wasn’t the gore of murder that got her attention – in fact, she hasn’t much stomach for that – but the unraveling of relationships, the find & following of clues, the striving after ‘who did it & how’, the subtle remarks that have substantial implications that were so important that really grasped her attention.
As a boy, I read my share of children’s mystery books as well. I think I completed much of the Hardy Boys series as well as several others. And while I’m not squeamish, I’ve never much enjoyed needless violence or shock-factor horror. But there is something to the wonderful pursuit of figuring it all out at the end. The subtle satisfaction of finding final understanding – of things making sense – of a life progressing to a climax.
I see this same reality in our Catholic Christian faith. After all, the deepest Truths of who we are and what we believe as Catholic Christians we rightly call Mysteries: the Trinity; the Incarnation of the Son of God – Jesus – in the Flesh; the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection; the tremendous Gift of the Eucharist – Christ’s Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity – given to you and I for deep intimate Communion. Mysteries of which we see hints here and now. Mysteries which flow from relationship with God and neighbor. Mysteries that we understand as we glen Truth from Scripture and Sacred Tradition. All progressing to the climax of face-to-face encounter with God – where for all eternity, we can ponder how God did it for us!
Now that we, the Church, have entered into the season of Lent, I pray that in addition to engaging in acts of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving, you experience once again the profound Mystery of God. Perfect knowledge of God is impossible for us finite creatures and so God is always rightly considered a Mystery. But what is not mysterious is the simplicity of knowing, loving, and serving God. Now, as always, is a time to dive deeper, to build up relationship, to encounter the Lord, to be strengthened in your own pursuit of the Way, the Truth, and the Life of Christ. It is this simplicity that Lent is all about – pure, intentional, faithful living of the Gospel in and through our lives for others. Faithful participation in the Mass, heartfelt prayer, reading Scriptures, time in Adoration, repentance and sacramental Confession, devotions like the Rosary and Stations of the Cross, dying to self through fasting and self-discipline, service of others and gifting of one’s self through almsgiving – all, although viewed as challenging and demanding by worldly standards, are not really that complicated or cryptic. While God is wholly Mysterious, becoming Holy is not. It is wholly gift of self to the one who lovingly made you and me to know, love, and serve Him in this life so as to be forever with Him in the next. Then, we will truly learn the answer to “who dunnit?” God, but also God with our cooperation.
Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God.
Holy Family, Centered on the Mysterious Incarnation, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries