November Reflection


Recently, I was reading the current issue of Maryknoll magazine and came upon an article called, “In the Blink of an Eye.”  It tells the story of Joe Regotti and Jean Walsh who worked as Lay Maryknoll Missioners in Oaxaca, Mexico.  It was there that Joe was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  He was in remission thirteen years before passing away last year.

Twenty-five years ago Joe and Jean were married.  During the wedding Mass, Joe looked at his wife and said, “Jeannie, pay attention.  This will be over in the blink of an eye.”  He meant the wedding liturgy itself.  Yet, in light of his untimely death, those words said years ago now mean the life they had together.

In the blink of an eye, my Mom died this year.  It seems only yesterday when I walked by her side on a sunny September morning my small hand in hers and as she took me to my first day of school.  I recall her wearing a yellow dress, luminous as the sun that day, and the sudden sadness I tried to blink back as she walked away, waving  as she went; in the blink of an eye.

Every November, we remember and call to mind those loved ones who have died; their lives now hidden in God and no longer at our side…for now.  Yet, with flickering faith we recall their names and find solace within Masses said; fed as we are by a timeless hope.

As we remember, we face our bare-boned mortality as well.  We, too, shall one day die; our hand slipping away from all we have loved in life.  We try not to think of it and spend a lifetime doing just that.  Wasn’t it Woody Allen who said, “I’m not afraid of death.  I just don’t want to be there when it happens”?

 I guess that’s all well and good for now.  While life lasts it is here we are meant to be; where the pulse of desire is felt for now.  Yet, to remember our dying is one way we begin to see and sense deep within our bones that we are made for more, and that the desire that is ours finds complete meaning only in God.  A God whose own True Face we glimpse within those we have loved, and love still;   all of it, mysteriously, a seamless whole.

We can’t change death’s determination, or the weight of our mortal nature.    We can, however, change our attitude and approach to life while it lasts.  We might very well learn to take to heart those words Joe spoke to his bride on their wedding day: “pay attention”.

This November and beyond, let us live with attention, our eyes open to the immeasurable gift that is life.  Granted, it is a “vale of tears” at times.  Yet, there can be found joy; night giving way to the dawn.  It is all a great mix, in the blink of an eye.  As I write this, a shower of golden leaves flutters past my window in a silent descent to earth.  Time pauses as I gaze out the window, wishing it would last.  Yet, it becomes enough as I take time to notice and sense within that moment  a lingering promise that will not let go as I return to write and scribble down these thoughts.

Life passes “In the Blink of an Eye.”  Let us pay greater attention to it all before it is too late.  So that, at the hour of death, we will sense nothing but gratitude for what has been…and will be.


Father Tim Clark, Pastor


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