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If I Could Save Time in a Bottle



Somewhere in each of our hearts lies a secret chamber - the place where we intrinsically know that everything is connected, everything is one. It is there where through the love of God, people, the planet, the universe, even time itself, are all interwoven.  Every once in a while, something happens that clears the mist before our eyes and for a moment, the gift of creation, of existence itself, comes sharply into view. When that happens, the world’s troubles and tribulations remain, but they pale in comparison.


Some of these moments are predictable: a child enters the world;

a loved one leaves it. Other moments sneak up on you. All of these moments live in that secret chamber of the heart and can be recalled whenever something sparks their memory.


One such moment snuck up on me last weekend. I attended the ordination of Paulist Fathers Dan Macalinao and Chris Lawton. It took place at the Paulist Fathers’ mother church, St. Paul the Apostle, in New York City. The church was filled to capacity with Paulist priests, local parishioners, and friends and family of the two men being ordained. Both Dan and Chris are exceptionally gifted and accomplished men who are setting aside careers in science and medicine to follow a religious vocation in an often maligned and misunderstood Church.

There were many lovely moments during the Rite of Ordination. What caught me unawares was the moment when Dan and Chris lay prostrate on the floor, handing their lives over to the will of God, as the congregation and choir rang the rafters of the church singing the Litany of the Saints. One after another, the cantor would sing out the name of a saint and the congregation would respond, “pray for us.”


I believe in an afterlife. I believe there is existence beyond this world, but since I can’t possibly know what that might look like, I have never given the idea of the communion of saints a great deal of consideration. But standing there, repeatedly singing out the refrain “all you holy men and women, pray for us,” the mist cleared, and for a moment I saw things in what may well be God’s time.  I experienced all those who have run the race and gone on before us, standing side-by-side with those of us laboring in the fields today. The future was also present, prostate on the floor with these two young men, committing whatever time their days on earth will hold to the service of God’s reality.


Everything fit together as it should. As it always does. I just wish I was better at keeping this focus in my daily life. If only I could save times like these in a bottle. It is comforting to remember that  despite my distractibility, now and again the mist does part, and life becomes a revelatory place for God.


Astronomer Carl Sagan once said “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” Perhaps that is a good way to describe the sacred calling that Dan and Chris have just answered.




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slater.marilyn
May 21
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

A beautiful meditation on the eternal moment in which we are one with all that is, has been, and will be. We welcome two new priests with joyful hearts. Thank you for the reminder that we can commune with the saints. Much to ponder in your essay on Time in a Bottle. Thank you.

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Guest
May 21
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Loved this

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Mary Hatton
Mary Hatton
May 21

This is extraordinary Claire - thank you for sharing. xx

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ELOISE LOPEZ METCALFE
ELOISE LOPEZ METCALFE
May 21
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Beautiful!

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