I received word last month that the home of my paternal grandparents is to be demolished.
This South Canterbury (just south of Waimate) farm-house, used by farm workers since my grandparents deaths 45 years ago, was a significant place for me through my childhood. Some of my earliest memories are of this house and the people, the moments and the conversations that I enjoyed there from before I could remember.
I would often stay for weekends or a week or two in the school holidays. I look back on those days with great fondness and with more than a touch of healthy nostalgia.
It was in this home, with my grandparents as my teachers, that I learnt to pray the Rosary.
Because the house and farm is still owned by family I was able to visit again, my first time in the house in more than four decades. The last tenants had moved out in preparation for the demolition.
As I walked through the empty rooms I was flooded with memories. I knew every nook and cranny. While there had been some cosmetic changes it was still very much the house that I remembered and I was happy to see details that I remembered, even to hear the familiar creak in one of the doors.
But this building really was just the empty shell of the house that was once the home of my grandparents.
My visit last month wasn’t a sad one, more a deep awareness that time had passed, and I was more than ok with the fact that in a couple of weeks the site would be bare land.
I suppose we could say that the glory days of the house and all that it represented were over.
Before I left the house I knelt as we once did in the lounge of the house to pray the Rosary as I last had almost half a century ago, and as I prayed I had a deep sense that the glory we truly desire as humans is found not in any earthly dwelling but only in the glory that God gives.
Earlier today I was curious about the meaning of the glory referred to in the title of these Glorious Mysteries. The Catechism gives this explanation:
“The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us “to be his children through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace”, for “the glory of God is the human person fully alive; moreover human life is the vision of God: if God’s revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word’s manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God.” The ultimate purpose of creation is that God “who is the creator of all things may at last become “all in all”, thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude.” CCC 294
I’m looking forward to thIs Rosary week as we journey together through these Glorious Mysteries, seeking the God who is making us “fully alive”. I like the way that we begin with the Resurrection of Jesus, continuing to his Ascension and the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, before the two final Mysteries in which Mary who has been our companion in every Rosary reflection is taken fully into the life of God for eternity.
That’s a long way from a little farmhouse in rural South Canterbury, but it’s the divine relationship that was nurtured for me in that country home and in many other equally hidden places that continues to give me all the hope I need to live abundantly here on earth.
Image above: Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee.