Today’s find: Sacred pause

For a short time yesterday, one of the busiest thoroughfares in West County stood stock still.

The regular noontime traffic simply had nowhere to go as the mile-long funeral cortege for Brother Marvin Becker FSC made its way down Manchester Road toward the Christian Brothers cemetery at La Salle in Glencoe.

Make way for Brother Marvin...

Make way for Brother Marvin…

While on some level I regretted the inconvenience we mourners had injected into the lunch breaks of all those many hundreds of drivers along the way, I felt oddly blessed by the spectacle, too. Somehow, it just felt right to see the work-a-day world pause—ever so briefly—to acknowledge the passing of this holy man.

Once we arrived at La Salle, however, my mood shifted a bit—and my spirit darkened. Reality had begun to settle in: As the pall bearers brought Brother Marvin’s body to its final resting place, I knew I was witnessing the end of an era. I could feel my heart breaking, and I began to wonder if this was something like what the apostles felt as they huddled together in the upper room.

IMG_1862Something had changed: There was no denying it. I was being asked to let go of an important chapter in my own spiritual journey. And I found it incredibly difficult to do so…to loosen my grip…not because I didn’t believe as Brother Marvin believed…but because I was having trouble seeing what comes next.

It’s a foolish question, I know—the antithesis of faith. And as the day wore on yesterday, I realized it’s precisely the collective state of mind, the state of heart, that the Risen Lord waded into when he greeted the apostles behind locked doors on that first Easter evening.

No matter how many miracles we encounter along the way…no matter how often we’ve seen lives transformed…it seems there’s still a part of us that expects the well to run dry.

Holy ground, consecrated by holy lives like Marvin's...

Holy ground, consecrated by holy lives like Marvin’s…

Which may explain why God puts people like Brother Marvin into our lives. Holy people, who literally have the power to stop noontime traffic on Manchester Road.

There’s tremendous meaning in such moments, when we have the opportunity to observe a sacred pause. As the Franciscan priest Richard Rohr has observed:

The mystery of Christ is revealed, and the Christ ‘comes again,’ whenever you are able to see the spiritual and the material coexisting, in any moment, in any event, and in any person…

I don’t know when it will happen or what it will look like to reach the tipping point, for the Christ Mystery to come to fullness. All I know is that this meaning, planted in the middle of things, was meant to give humanity both direction and immense confidence.

 

 

We offer our gratitude, Brother Marvin, for all you did to show us the way...

We offer our gratitude, Brother Marvin, for all you did to show us the way…

 

 

 

Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.

 

IHS

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9 thoughts on “Today’s find: Sacred pause

  1. Ann Mueller

    John, Excellent reflection on Bro. Marvin and our lives when someone who has influenced us so much dies. Made me also think of someone else. You captured it perfectly. Good to see you at his wake! Love to you and Gerri! annie

  2. herman schroeder

    Nicely done, Big Brother… Thanks.

  3. Mike Albers

    John, your words haunt me. “I knew I was witnessing the end of an era. I could feel my heart breaking . . .” You captured what I was thinking the moment I heard of his passing . . .

  4. Sally

    Thank you, John. I felt horrible about missing the services on Monday, but now I have felt a bit of the experience through your lovely words and pictures. Marvin was a special man, who both leaves a lot of himself with us, but takes a bit of ourselves and LaSalle with him. He was loved and will be missed. For those of us who knew him and loved him, his presence will always be felt in the hallways and the grounds of LaSalle, and especially in our hearts.

  5. Joe Mueller

    Thanks for the wonderful words and reflection. I’m heading to La Salle tomorrow with the Sacred Heart-Valley Park men’s ACTS Retreat and I know it will be a different experience. Each time I visit the cemetery, I’m in awe of the great people who served the Christian Brothers throughout the last century. I’ll say a prayer for Bro. Marvin. I’ll also remember his enthusiasm and passion for the ACTS Retreats and how he believed it was the beginning of a lay apostolate within the Roman Catholic Church.
    His legacy lives on in all who were influenced by him.

  6. Joe Mueller

    Reblogged this on Uncommon Catholic and commented:
    Here’s an excellent reflection on the passing of Brother Marvin Becker by John Schroeder, a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Manchester.
    I’m heading to La Salle tomorrow with the Sacred Heart-Valley Park men’s ACTS Retreat and I know it will be a different experience.
    Each time I visit the cemetery, I’m in awe of the great people who served the Christian Brothers throughout the last century. I’ll say a prayer for Bro. Marvin. I’ll also remember his enthusiasm and passion for the ACTS Retreats and how he believed it was the beginning of a lay apostolate within the Roman Catholic Church.
    His legacy lives on in all who were influenced by him.

  7. It’s so touching to hear from all of you who’ve been blessed by Brother Marvin — and who will miss him as much as I do. Please keep the remembrances coming!

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