Are we ready?

One of the late summer, early autumn rituals in Florida is hurricane preparedness. You might be thinking, “ah….isn’t that the middle of the peak of hurricane season?” Yes, it is. And to be clear there also has to be a projection of a hurricane possibly heading to your home area for any meaningful preparedness activities to be undertaken in earnest.. And then, even at that, the level of preparedness is related to the projected storm strength. “Only Cat 1? No problem, we’re good.” The fact that, especially in Gulf of Mexico waters, storms can rapidly increase to Cat 3 and 4 is acknowledged, “but that stuff hits Texas or Louisiana – maybe the Florida Panhandle, but that’s almost Alabama anyway.” Every year in late May the newspapers print a special insert on preparing for hurricane season; not sure how well it is read.  I am not sure we Floridians are the most prepared for hurricane season and we know it’s coming. We’ll chat about it, we’ll tell stories about particular hurricanes, “that was a big one; blew roofs clean off homes. The whole neighborhood had the blue tarp covers on roofs for months. Yup, that was a big one.” But as the seasons change, Floridian’s conversations shift from hurricanes to the changing colors of … auto license plates during the annual snowbird invasion, congesting roads but filling state tax coffers with the tourist tax. We’re prepared for that. Continue reading

From the backseat

I remember family road trips when I was a child.  All my cousins on my father’s side lived in Atlanta. My dad was the only one of the 7 siblings that did not live in Atlanta. Each year – sometimes over Thanksgiving, sometimes over Christmas – we would load up the car with kids, bags, and whatnot and off we went. There were games, snacks, and drinks for us all. There was a suitcase with my clothes. The car was serviced, the oil checked, and the gas tank filled. This was before the days of the interstate highways and so there was route planning that needed to be done. I contributed to none of that. My only job was to be on time having recently gone to the bathroom and subsequently thoroughly washed my hands. I wasn’t in charge or responsible for any task or duties. I was 8 years old. Continue reading

The Transitus of St. Francis

In Western Christianity, the Transitus (translation from Ecclesiastical Latin: crossing or passing over) refers to “the time of passage through death to life”. The Christian theologian German Martinez writes that: “The idea of death in the Latin transitus … represents a unique Christian terminology linked to the paschal mystery. It consecrates the passage of the dying to eternal life. Offering the sacrifice of his or her personal life, the believer shares in the paschal transitus of Christ himself.

Each year on the evening of October 3rd the Franciscan family throughout the world pauses to celebrate the solemnity of our Holy Father Francis’s Transitus, passing over from this life to the next. In his famous Canticle of the Creatures, the saint from Assisi wrote “Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no one living can escape.” That line, written near Francis’s own embrace of Sister Bodily Death, reflects the importance and natural character of death in the life of all creation. Francis was not afraid of what would come at the end of his earthly life, choosing instead to recognize in that experience, not an end, but a transition from one way of living to another. Br. Thomas of Celano recorded an account of that transition, that transitus: Continue reading