Friday, August 15, 2008

Words of Love

On this date, Jesuits mark many sorts of beginnings. For many Jesuits, August 15 was the date on which they pronounced first vows. For some, it was the day they entered the Society. For others, this date serves as the start of the work year, when matters “gear up” for another year. So it is for me. We all look to this date not only as a watershed during the year, but most importantly as a major feast for the Church and for the Society of Jesus: the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. It is the beginning of her life eternal, a gift which foreshadows the life we will all possess. It is in the context of this life eternal that I share with you the news of my father’s passing last month. In fact, on the morning of my own birthday, July 17, my dad – Joseph P. Fairbanks, III – was received by the Lord into his loving arms, receiving his greatest reward. In faith, I know that his soul dwells in the presence of God; his body, as yet, remains in the ground in St. Stephen’s Cemetery in Hamilton, but the truth of Mary’s Assumption teaches us that the Lord will bring all things to Himself, including all bodies, all souls, all worlds. Through Him, it was all created, and so in Him he will receive and renew it forever. We await that day when we will all share eternal life – body and soul – with the Father, Son, and Spirit, a time at which I am sure my dad will lose no more hands of bridge, no more games of backgammon, and no rounds of golf to anyone, neither son nor doctor nor lawyer. The picture below shows how it might be when I arrive at the heavenly gates with my dad to show me the way. Oh, and the picture above comes from the Jesuit church in downtown Philadelphia, “Old St. Joseph.” Check out the site here: I drove through Philadelphia today on my way to Connecticut. I will say more about that pilgrimage in coming blogs. Meanwhile, may we all continue on our own pilgrimages, making the best of body and soul, until we hand it right back to Him who loves us.
God bless you, Dad.
Love, Pat