One of the few memories I have of both of my grandfathers is of their reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. When we would drive past a Catholic Church, my dad’s dad would always tip his hat (I love that he always wore hats) and my mother’s father would inevitably cross himself.
I can remember my older brother asking why once and hearing my dad’s dad say, “It’s because He’s in there, in the tabernacle.” I recall looking at the church and wondering who could be in there that was so important. Who could it be who was so amazing that my grandfather would slow down and say hello even when he couldn’t be seen? Who could be worthy of such respect? I never asked, but knew that whoever it was must be the most important person who ever lived.
As I got older and we lost my dad’s dad, it was only my mom’s father who slowed down to say “Hello.” I loved him and wanted to make him proud, so I would follow his example and cross myself too. How he would smile at me when I joined him in this small show of respect. I would glow for half a day from the loving approval of that smiling nod he gave me. By then I knew it was Jesus that we were honoring, and I would try to remember to make the sign of the cross any time that we drove past a Catholic Church.
I’ll always remember the Good Friday when we drove by St Elizabeth’s Church. As my hand rose to my forehead, Grandpa’s gentle hand reached out to stop me. “Not today,” he told me. “Today he’s not there and the whole world is a little sadder to not have Him in it. Today there is no one to greet.”
That’s where my brain is this morning….in that big boat of a car with my grandfather as his eyes welled up and he fought back his sadness. His mournful voice said, “Today He’s in the tomb and we are alone.”
That’s where my heart and mind are today …. drifting to the empty tabernacles all over the world with their doors standing open, and churches which are filled with the silence of the grave.
How I ache for Easter when we can all bask in His presence once more.