>The first few months that I took communion at the Abbey, there was an old monk in a wheel chair who generally sat right behind the priest who held the Cup. This old monk would stare right at me, unashamedly. He did it to everyone, not just me. It wasn’t disagreeable in the least, in fact, I rather liked it. And him. There was a clear and lively intelligence behind his look. Clearly this old monk missed nothing that took place within his sight. Eventually I found out his name was Br. Roderick. Since then I have always asked Fr. James about Br. Roderick.
Not terribly long ago it was discovered that Br. Roderick had cancer. I was sad to hear it. It really wasn’t all that long ago it was discovered, and now he is actively dying. I would not be surprised to see his body in the church tomorrow morning. The cycle of death and new life, repeating itself. We have not yet come to Pentecost, and already Br. Roderick is dying. In a liturgical season of new life, a season of post-resurrection miracles, death comes for him.
They will gather near his room today as death approaches. They will pray him out of one state of life, into an altogether different state of life. The state of life we call death. As Christians we know–as does Br. Roderick–that death is not the end of our being. We are more than our bodies! We are still alive, but in a different place, a place we are told, and believe by faith, that is closer to God. Some people call it “the nearer presence of God.”
I would like to do something to participate in some small way for Br. Roderick’s passing. I suppose that what today’s blog entry is all about. I did not know this man, but he has touched me without words. He was a silent witness of the intensity with which God gazes at us at all times. May the angels lead him in Paradise. Amen.