I have been reflecting on life, on the gift of Chelsea's life - a gift of beauty, mystery and above all, of miracles.
A gift of beauty because of her soul, the "ruah," the breath of God which is the divine - and which transcends the here and now.
A gift of mystery because she and we are held together in the divine embrace of love, which Thomas Aquinas says "…is the first gift and whatever else is given us becomes a gift only through love” - and her and our love transcends the here and now.
A gift of miracles because her life and ours is a composite of countless other lives and loves generating more life and deeper love - and that transcends the here and now.
Chelsea's gift of life has touched each of us in luminous ways. We know that Chelsea illuminated her great-gram's life, my mother, from their having a tea party using Mom's 60 year old wedding gift tea service (because nothing was too good for Chelsea), to dressing up in great-gram's best dress, high heels, jewelry cascading and topped with one of Mom's exotic hats.
Or (her favorite activity) standing on a chair to reach the sink, elbow deep in suds, in an oversized apron, washing dishes.
Chelsea was “best friends” with her great-gram, a kind of splendid, flaming light in her life, as Chelsea has illuminated all our lives. And if it true that we are as the poet says, "made from the stuff of stars" Chelsea now shines in new and amazing ways for us in miracles of grace.
So, let us expect miracles.
The miracles that enable us to believe that life is eternal and love is immortal and death is an horizon
and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight - miracles that enable us to pray.
There is a story in the book of Genesis the details of which are unimportant to us today. But it is about two brothers, one wronged by the other. And when they meet years later on the battlefield, the rogue brother throws himself at the feet of the other, terrified.>
The brother who was wronged reaches down and pulls his brother to his feet, asking why he is acting this way. The reply is fear. And the wronged brother says: "Do you not know, that for me, to look upon your face is to look upon the face of God?"
Chelsea for us now transcends the here and now. She is the face of God for us because we love her. She is the love of God, the goodness, the beauty, the mystery, the miracle, the light of God for us.
The mystics have a saying: "Per crucem, ad lucem." Through the cross, through suffering, to the light." The Easter season readings in our Catholic Masses this week from the Christian scriptures quote Jesus promising his loved ones as he leaves them: "I am with you always, even to the end of time."
And in yesterday's readings: "You are sad now, but I shall see you again and your hearts will be full of joy and that joy no one will take from you." "Per crucem, ad lucem." Through suffering, to the light.
Chip, Debi, Michael - You have shared with us the beauty, the mystery, the miracle of Chelsea - and that gift transcends the here and now. And we are eternally grateful as we pray:
Lift us up, strong and gentle God, that we may see beyond the horizon.
That we may see in each happening an encounter with the mystery of God.
That we may see in each other a revelation of the love of God.
That each place and space may be for us a sanctuary of the holiness of God.
For in doing this, we are sharing the gift of Chelsea's life.
We love you, Chelsea.