December 18, 2012

A Place of Rest

“Blessed is the way in which you shall walk today, O soul, for a place of rest has been prepared for you.” (Orthodox Funeral)

The epistle for today speaks of the rest God promises to his faithful ones. The gospel speaks of hardened hearts. We may have debates about who will enter that rest and who won’t, but one thing of which I am sure is that the heart of God is bigger than any human being’s, and in the life to come his generosity and ability to melt the frozen, hardened, violent hearts of this world—our own and others’—is beyond what we can imagine.

Father Lawrence Farley’s beautiful reflection the other day on the Newtown massacre ended with C.S. Lewis’ closing Narnia lines about eternal rest and eternal life. His words bear repeating here.

“The great lion, Aslan, greeted the children as they stepped through the door of death.

He said to them, ‘All of you are—as you used to call it in the Shadowlands—dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.’ And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion, but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

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Jesus and the Children
Jesus and the Children

Father Sergius Halvorsen, Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, wrote to me last Saturday night and reminded me that we pray for people by name when possible. The names of those who died in the Newtown massacre are now widely circulated in the press, but for the benefit of those who read this Chancellor’s Diary and wish to have the names for their own prayers, here they are: children, adults, perpetrator.

Children

Charlotte Bacon
Daniel Barden
Olivia Engel
Josephine Gay
Ana M. Marquez-Greene
Dylan Hockley
Madeleine F. Hsu
Catherine V. Hubbard
Chase Kowalski
Jesse Lewis
James Mattioli
Grace McDonnell
Emilie Parker
Jack Pinto
Noah Pozner
Caroline Previdi
Jessica Rekos
Avielle Richman
Benjamin Wheeler
Allison N. Wyatt


Adults

Rachel Davino
Dawn Hochsprung
Nancy Lanza
Anne Marie Murphy
Lauren Russeau
Mary Sherlach
Victoria Soto

Perpetrator

Adam Lanza