My view from the pew: “To sing is to pray twice.” ~ St Augustine
A most amazing and miraculous thing happened yesterday… The most joy-filled, uplifting and Spirit-lead Celebration of Life I’ve ever attended was held for our dear departed, sweet Sister Monica McGloin.
She was a truly remarkable woman who lived a good, long, faith-filled life in constant pursuit of fairness, peace and justice…and if you did not know her, fear not. We will all see her again. And thankfully there are plenty of wonderful stories of her marvelous life… But this is about the celebration of her life as held yesterday at “St. Joseph Catholic Church, A Tower of Faith in the West End and Cumminsville, since 1846.”
I am a lifelong Roman Catholic and near lifelong Music Minster of the same. I have been blessed to sing in some of the worlds finest churches and halls… And in my time I have married and buried about as many souls as any Pastor I have ever known. I have performed beautiful solemn ancient music in lost tongues as well as hand rasing worship music that would drive any sinner to the bench down front. But never… never… never have I been so entirely wrapped up in and raised up by a Catholic, or any other service, ever in my life, as I was so blessed to be, yesterday at St. Joseph.
First of all, Sr. Monica was known and loved by almost all, so the church was packed. The air in the church was charged like a summer afternoon before a storm. And then it began… and The Holy Spirit descended upon that blessed place like it must have in the upper room with the apostles all those Pentecosts ago. Only this time, The Holy Spirit washed over us worshipers in the form of music, not fire. Word upon holy word, stacked on note upon blessed note, The Spirit swept across that room, not like a dove, but like a mighty, majestic eagle.
The music soared and poured from each blessed mouth as if they were singing their eternal souls right out of their mortal bodies. They sang great and mighty hymns of praise, and then they sang sweet and low, peaceful lullabies, followed by anthems of worship and great thankfulness! They poured out their musical gold as if they were the refiner’s fire itself, and I, with down dropped jaw, wide eyes and all new ears, heard what faith, praise, loss, redemption, pain and joy all truly sounded like… And I am forever changed by it.
I am so thankful for the life of our dear, sweet Sr. Monica… And I am saddened that she is no longer with us here. But I am so much more sure, because of the celebration of life we celebrated for her, that we will surely, surely see her again in the next life. And what’s more, I now know what the music of that heavenly place is going to sound like, because we all got a good taste of it yesterday at “St. Joseph Catholic Church, A Tower of Faith in the West End and Cumminsville, since 1846.”
Thank you… Thank you for all you did by simply singing our dear Sister to sleep…for in doing so, I am now fully awake! Alleluia!