Lasting Words: The Epistle

If I wrote a letter to those who were grieving my death, what would I write?  This is one of the questions that I asked myself last year in my post, Preparing to Die in 5 Easy Steps.  I also made a commitment to choose the Bible readings that I would like read at my Funeral Mass.  These two efforts find communion in the words of St. Paul – one of the Scripture passages that I choose for when my loved ones say goodbye to me, whenever that may be.

As I am busy writing my book, God willing, I share this reading with you, dear reader.  (I will be checking the comments, so please keep up the bothering and encouraging so that I can stay on track!)

The words that follow are definitely those of St. Paul.  My letter to my loved ones will be different.  But, there is a tenderness in what St. Paul has to say to the Philippians that touches my heart and, I hope, will touch the heart of those who will hear it at my funeral, whenever that may be.  The way that he combines his expressions of affection and his joyful encouragement toward unity and kindness with the jaw-dropping reality of the Mystery of the Incarnation fills me with delight – this is Christianity.  A call to love, humility, compassion, and generosity, to union with divinity – through Christ, who is God… humble, compassionate, generous… love itself.

Wonder of wonders…

Rose, hands, Christian, help, Elderly

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Lasting Words: Psalm 139

What Sacred Scripture do you want read at your funeral?

Continuing with the divinely inspired words that I want to share with those who will grieve my death, whenever that will be, (for more, click here) I turn to my favorite Psalm.  God knows that I strayed from Him in my life, seeking truth where truth was not – yet, God was everywhere that I looked and I could not see Him.  God was with me – and Mysteriously, in me – all along, and I denied Him.  I tried, as some ancient sages have written, to run from my feet….

Thankfully, God is merciful!

road, country road, searching, wheelchair, journey, path, disability

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Lasting Words: The Book of Wisdom

Sacred Scripture on Beauty and Truth….

For the first reading at my funeral (read more about that HERE) I would like these words from The Book of Wisdom proclaimed.  This is God divinely understanding primitive beginnings of finding Him – understanding my own primitive ignorance, when I did not believe in Him and, yet, sought the truth through science alone.  I have always wanted the truth and been drawn to Beauty, loving the beauty of the natural world, even in my ignorance of God.  God was speaking to me – and I recognized Him not.  God is merciful.  (It is clear to me now how Saint Augustine was inspired to write what he wrote on the Beautiful One.)

When my body is in attendance at my last Mass, I want all people in attendance to be filled with the same desire of truth that filled me in my earthly life – and to receive Wisdom from God, as I mercifully did while I still breathed within God’s beautiful Creation of the natural world.  Let us  have mercy on those who still do not know the fullness of reality, that they may come to know God and the fullness of who they are as God’s beloved creatures!

(In case  you’re wondering, yes, I am working on my book – although this is prescheduled,  I trust in God’s mercy that progress is being made.  I will be checking on the comments, so please bug me! 🙂 )

Fire, coastline, nature, Book of Wisdom

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Leaving with These Words

Last year,  I had several health challenges that reminded me, yet again, of how fragile and fleeting my life is.  Having been born with a rare disease and living all of my life with severe disability, I have always know that my lifespan would be limited.  But, how limited?  What will be my last year?  When will be my last day?

This is not something to obsess about, but, last year, I did realize that it’s okay to think about one’s death and to plan for it.  This is actually a good and beautiful thing to do.  I even wrote a blog post called Preparing to Die in Five Easy Steps.  One of these steps was to plan my own funeral.

Bible, funeral, Mass, church

I gave a lot of thought to what readings I would like to have read at my Catholic Funeral Mass, but didn’t finalize my choices until nearly the end of the year, when I heard a reading from the book of Wisdom, which I wanted, instantly, as my funeral’s first reading.  Everything else flowed from there.

And, now, I want to share my chosen passages of Scripture with you, dear reader.

As this is being posted, I am supposed to be busily working on my first book.  I prescheduled this post and one for every week of February in order to free me from distractions while I write.  The blog post for February 1 will feature the first reading for my funeral.  February 8 will feature the Psalm of my choice, February 15 will contain my selected epistle (Second Reading) and February 22 will reveal my chosen Gospel passage.  Taken together, these readings from Sacred Scripture tell a little of my personal story, my follies and my faith, my love and my hope, as well as give prompting and encouragement to all who will hear them to seek beauty and truth, finding God.

Seek and find the One who is Beauty, the One who is Truth.  Find and be found by God, who intimately and infinitely loves each and every one of us – and in loving Him, be fulfilled as the wonderful, blessed human being that you are uniquely created to be.

© 2018 Christina Chase


Photo by Stephen Radford on Unsplash

The Book I’m Writing

Book

To my ears, it sounds a bit ridiculous and slightly pretentious to say that I am writing a book. But… I am. Again.

This is not the first writing project that I have intended for publication in the last 20 years. But, God willing, this will be the first one to actually get completed and become a real, live book.

In the past, my great ideas have fizzled out into failure because of one simple thing: faith. Or, more precisely, lack of faith. Each project begins with great enthusiasm and confidence in the goodness and rightness of what I am undertaking. And then… and then I start to doubt. I either doubt the idea or my ability to bring the idea into fruition and my enthusiasm wanes… my confidence dries up… and I leave my idea to die on the vine.

Not this time! But… haven’t I said that before? Continue reading

An Eve in Winter

Starlight, illumination, Man, inspiration, hubris

 

When you enter a darkened room

and see a pool of moonlight on the floor,

do you wait to turn the lights on

so you can step into the glow?

 

I do.

 

For brightness can scare away the paler shades.

Though it is good for seeing definitions clearly and

avoiding stray furniture, it is poor for

hearing and keeping the secret

that’s whispered through tender starlight

 to waiting earth of snow.

 

When I say, “let there be light,”

smugly snapping on devices,

I cannot see beyond my own reflection

– blinded to that of the Divine.

 

© 2018 Christina Chase


Poem inspired by an Amazon “Alexa” moment,

written between Christmas 2017 and New Year’s Day.

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

In the Bleak Midwinter

Frozen, ice, midwinter, angel wings, angel

On the day that this is being posted, I should be hard at work fulfilling my New Year’s resolution – writing a book.  Should be, But am I?….  Because this is my serious intention, I’m scheduling posts ahead of time for January and February.  (Hmm… “ahead of time” sounds so sci-fi….)  But, I will still be checking on comments, so please share your thoughts (and keep bugging me to fulfill my resolution!)
This week, as we are still celebrating Christmas (Merry Christmas, everyone) I’m sharing an old carol that caught my ear a couple of weeks ago.  Even though the context is inaccurate – Christ being born in Bethlehem, not a place known for frozen ground and piles of snow – the sentiment is wholly accurate and beautiful.  Much to my surprise, I discovered that it was based on a poem written by Christina Rossetti.  (What a good first name, don’t you think?) Since the poem is slightly different than the lyrics sung by James Taylor in his version (the one that caught my ear) I’m sharing them both here.  My favorite line is “Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain…”.  And, in this poem, as well as in the song, I find the eternal importance of giving God my heart….
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
 
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
 
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
 
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
 
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

© 2017 Christina Chase


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

New Year’s Resolution 2018

I make the same mistakes, repeatedly.  You?  And, so, as each year comes to an end and a new one is about to begin, I seem to make the same resolutions.  Heavy sigh.  This brings to my mind, with a smirk on my face, the words of Saint Augustine: “ever ancient, ever new.”

Too often, my New Year’s resolutions center on me:

I will be more…

I will be less…

I will be a better…

But, this just goes round and round, and I circle around myself, like circling around a drain.

So, this year, in order to make a difference, my resolution is focused on a thing

a book.

Books, library, book

I resolve, God willing, to write a book by March 1 and to put it into the hands of an editor before my birthday (which is in April.)  I make this pledge loud and clear, witnessed by the world (which is you, my dear reader) so that the world (you) will hold me to it.

So, ask me how my book is going: Have I finished my outline?  How many chapters have I written?  Is the first draft done?  Bug, harass, harangue me – but don’t let me slack!  Help me not to make the same mistakes this year, so that my book won’t be just an idea that bursts its fire upon the sky to be heard no more.

(If you have a New Year’s resolution with which you need help, please write it in the comments below and I will gladly bug you, too!)

Thank you, “world”.  And may you have many blessings in the new year!

© 2017 Christina Chase


Photo by Glen Noble on Unsplash

Happy Christmas

Christmas, Isaiah, Nativity, Jesus, divine incarnate

© 2017 Christina Chase

Just One

Sometimes, I feel so small.

NASA, earth, planet

This planet is far too large for me to understand, with way too many people for my mind to comprehend.  What does 7 billion mean?  And here I am, just one.  Just one blade of grass in a continent wide savanna, one tiny drop of water in an ocean of earth-time.

And yet…

And yet, within these little bones of mine, beneath this fragile skin, I feel gnawing, aching, heartbreaking sorrows, quaking everything within me more violently than tectonic plates and magma flow.  This quivering verge of cataclysm is somehow hidden, unseen by other eyes, the tremors undetected.  And this is true for every one.  A human life can slip so easily through a fissure of space where no hands can grab it back – and the earth doesn’t even know that it is gone.

Why would God want to feel like this?

Why would God take on human flesh and limitations, a tender heart susceptible to storms and pain?…  To become a small blossom of humanity easily decimated by the winds of war, sickness and age, forgotten, neglected, rejected, ignored, unseen…?

God must know something that I don’t.

babies, infant, newborn, foot

In preparing to commemorate the birth of God Incarnate into the world, filled with awe, I wonder… and I wonder… and I am stilled with wonder

– that the All-Powerful Creator and Master of the Universe Entire should become so small.

© 2017 Christina Chase


Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Photo by Ryan Graybill on Unsplash