Halloween: a dead nun under glass


Although things like this in churches kinda freak me out, it seems rather halloween-ey today, so the image arrests me when I wander my collection of photos from trips and life.

I always write this blog by first praying in silence with a candle and then letting my mind and fingers wander my iPhoto library in and out of events until I find an area and then a series of photos and then one photo which seems to woo me a bit.  It winks at me.  It smirks. It says “Hey there big boy….you come here often?” I do. Daily…

This photo did that to me.  At first I was appalled and then I remembered the love that this church in Florence must have had for their beloved saint.  This nun must have loved them and they must have loved her.  How many people are replicated in wax and dressed in their clothes and placed in a glass box on their grave inside a church for people hundreds of years later to sit with, look at, wonder about, pray with? This is, as The Dean would say, a pointer towards the incarnation – that moment when God chose to enter time through Jesus and experience it.  The incarnation makes the love of the things of this world (not attachment to them) a wonderful thing to enjoy when enjoyment is our lot in life – which, at times, it is.

I see her roses – the ones someone made into a crown to say something soft and lovely about who this fateful nun was.  As a man who was once a monk, I know the back-story.  She may have been a real *&%#@ at times, in her convent.  But still, her goodness must have prevailed, for she has a crown which scripture says we will get in heaven.  I see her habit, that symbol of sacrifice and focus.  We all have one – some as monks and some as nuns… the rest of us have other symbols of our sacrifice and vows for we all have a mini-monk and mini-nun inside us, so we all have these monastic vow symbols we cary and wear like badges of honor- children’s dirty socks needing a hamper, a wedding band, a lap top, a sponge,a ledger,a piece of chalk. The thing I hated about the habit and that I hate about clericals is that it creates such a false distinction.  But I get the value of symbol.

I see most of all her rosary.  I do not use one but I know the value of one and I know how well this one looks – warn and real and full of the oils (still!!!) of this woman’s hands as she worked these beads – begging God in TENS and TENS to help those for whom she prayed. I imagine her hands – young and smooth at first, then calloused.  God love her!  I love her.  I want to be her.  Not for halloween. I want to really be a person who was so kind and so gentle and so good and so prayerful that a rose crown and wooden beads is how I am remembered by those congregants and friends and others who I so very much love.

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