Posted by: fvbcdm | May 30, 2014

Feast of Saint Joan of Arc (30 May 2014)

I am back from a wonderful little vacation trip, five days of which were spent in Honolulu. Very generous friends invited me to go there with them. I had been there in 1953 when I was in the navy, and I was fascinated to see the changes that have occurred in the intervening years and to indulge in nostalgia, remembering my earlier trip there.

I was able to revisit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace where Blessed Damien, the leper priest of Molokai, was ordained after arriving as a seminarian from his native Belgium and before he volunteered to devote his life to the lepers and share their terrible life with them, as it was then, and even to contract the dreaded disease. Recently Pope John Paul beatified him; I hope that his canonization will occur soon. A statue of him stands outside the new state capitol building in Honolulu, and another in the hall of statuary in our national capitol in Washington.

I was able to visit the USS Arizona memorial, both on land, and then the monument that has been constructed over the sunken hull of the ship itself which exploded during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a heart-wrenching experience, but one that I would not have wanted to miss. On the wall of a sort of chapel in the monument are inscribed the names of the 1177 men who died that terrible day aboard the Arizona. I noted that there were six men whose name was Brown. And one of the explanatory narratives that I listened to indicated that two men were named Free. They were father and son who died together. The sunken ship is still Ableeding@ oil, as they say; there is always an iridescent oil slick on the water above the wreckage even after these 64 years since the ship and its crew died.

I was able to have lunch with a lady, the friend of one of my navy buddies whom I met in 1953, and to talk to him by telephone. What a delight, to renew friendships after more than half a century!And now, back to life in the parish. This weekend brings us to the solemnity of Our Divine Lord=s ascension into heaven. Jesus was with us here on this earth in his bodily form for some years. Then he died, rose from the tomb, appeared to his disciples for a period of forty days, and then went into eternal life to prepare a place for us. At the end of his Blessed Mother=s life on earth, he took her with him to heaven. And now, we await the end of our life on earth so that we, too, can join Jesus and Mary in heaven. We will first join them with our souls alone. Then, at the end of time, there will be the resurrection of our bodies, and we will be body and soul in heaven, even as Jesus and Mary are already. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you, Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago

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