One of my nuns died on Sunday. Theresa was 62. The news came as a shock, though I suppose death is always shocking at some level, even when it is expected or welcome.
Nothing can ever really take the edge off of the reality of death. Life is, and then it is not. Theresa is with us, and then one Sunday night, she is no longer here the way we have always known and loved her.
There is a song in our IHM tradition that speaks of our sisters who have died as “dwelling now in light, yet ever near.” In times like this, I have to trust the wisdom of my community and of my faith tradition because my plain old human emotions are not all that jubilant. I rather liked Theresa dwelling here and now. I loved her gentle spirit, determination, and courage to speak the truth. I like the Communion of Saints that are here with me, that I can rub shoulders with, revel in God’s mystery with, and share the bond of sisterhood with.
At the same time, I am a woman fiercely of the resurrection. I believe, as we read in yesterday’s Gospel, that God indeed desires peace for us, courage in times of challenge, and trust that God has already conquered the world! (John 16:33) For me, that conquering business does not mean overpowering the world, crushing it; rather it means that in all things — even persecution, suffering, and death — God is with us and has the final word. What is that word? Well, I think about Theresa, and I think of one word. Love.