By Sister Sallie Latkovich
Several years ago, when I was with a group in the Holy Land, we were visiting the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The group was at the altar of Mt. Calvary, where we commemorated the death of Jesus. We were gathered in a semi-circle, quietly singing “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord” as each member reverenced the spot. In the midst of this holy moment, a messenger came to tell us that the Resurrection Chapel was available for our Mass, and we were invited to move there quickly. Within about three minutes we were in that Chapel, beginning the Mass by singing “Alleluia, Alleluia, Let the Holy Anthem Rise.” It was a little disjointing to say the least. The Franciscan Friar, Steve Doyle, began the Mass by saying: “Isn’t life just like this? Dying and rising happen at the same time.” I find this to be true.
We have had a number of deaths of Sisters in our Congregation in the last month or so, two of them younger Sisters who were my friends. Another long time dear friend died after a decline of two and a half years. The losses of these fine women and my own grief have filled my heart with sadness.
I am a believer in the resurrection! There is eternal life after death, and there is new life even in the midst of sorrow and grief. I recently celebrated my 70th birthday, and was touched by the wonderful messages in cards from family and friends.
The leaves of this autumn are about to turn into their magnificent colors.
My family celebrated my grand nephew’s first birthday on zoom with great laughter and amazement at his antics. Somehow, my sad heart has also experienced great joy.
So, indeed, death and resurrection seem to happen together, simultaneously. The human heart has the capacity to experience both at the same time. It’s a mystery to be sure. And, it’s good to be reminded of it.
About the Author
After nine years at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Sister Sallie Latkovich was elected to and currently serves on the Leadership Team of the Congregation of St. Joseph.