Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Second Noel: What We Know and Don't Know


There are infinite reasons to be sad.
*Five to be joyful. 

Saint Stephen died, with a vision of heaven and ultimate love. 
*Saul stood apart, choosing excellent stones, cock sure he saw clearly. 

We think we know what made Stephen great--
his courage in the face of persecution and death. 
*What made Saint Stephen great was feeding widows and caring for those in need, which he did without casting stones. 

On Christmas Night, we gather at the manger, where our fellow animals are fed.
*On Saint Stephen's Day, we remember him who never witnessed more truly than when he fed others, appointed by the apostles to care for widows and the poor

I can't know what my brother Noel was seeing as he was dying.
*We stood, and watched, and witnessed, yet knew we saw darkly.

He looked at me, earlier in the week, and asked, too clearly, "Why?"
*"What do you mean?" I said. But he never answered. 

Father Charles, in the eulogy, speaks of Noel's life of service. A long-time catechist and trainer of others in that ministry. An experienced handyman around the property. "Noel hung the new stations of the cross for the church last Lent. Selflessly."
*I take that to mean that the church still owed him money.

I don't know any more about Saint Stephen, but I'd like to think that--
*he was a much loved younger brother. 
*A little spoiled as a child.
*A champion swimmer as a boy.
*The apple of his mother's eye. 
*Looked a lot like his father.
*Led an oil-exploration team in Texas.
*Owned his own home-remodeling business. 
*Could make an excellent margarita. 
*Wanted more than anything to be a good parent. 
*Once had a dog he loved very much, a Samoyed Husky named Frodo. 
*Had a daughter who loved to ride with him in his pickup. 


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