Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas In Prison

From Father Gordon MacRae at These Stone Walls

Father Gordon, as readers of my blog and more particularly of These Stone Walls, know has been falsely imprisonned.

Today he writes about Christmas in prison.  Those of us in the outside world never probably pay a thought to our brothers and sisters who will spend this Christmas season behind bars.  Many of them really deserve to be there, some more so than others.  There are also many there because the system failed them, like Father MacRae.

But, we all live in at least a symbolic prison, the prison of our own disobedience to the God who loves us enough to send His Son to earth to be Our Saviour and Lord.

Today, we here in London, are celebrating the funeral Mass of a friend, Donna Henshaw, who passed away at the age of 54 this week.  Donna raised 6 kids, much of that on her own, and leaves them and in laws, 6 grandchildren, and friends behind, as she goes on to her eternal reward, the one that Jesus died to give to her.

She too was in prison.   She had ovarian cancer for a number of years and thus was a prisoner of her body which was betraying her.  She was told over two years ago that her death was imminent.  She never stopped believing that God would heal her, and she lived each day as fully as she could.  There was no quit in Donna Henshaw.  But, this week, she finally let go, and went home.  She received her miracle.  She lived those extra years in faith and love, doing for others as she could, and loving all who crossed her path.

Donna had this one little quirky thing that my prayer partners and I were reminded of yesterday at Morning Prayer.  If she was approaching you, and you had not noticed her, or she thought you had not, she would wave her arms and call our "Yoo Hoo!"  We all remembered times when Donna had marched down the street in high or low dudgeon, on a mission to somewhere, and would call out to those she was about to meet.   So, it seemed appropriate that she would be laid to rest at the original Catholic Funeral Home in London, Ontario, Donohue's.  Yesterday, we called it "Donna Yoo Hoo's," in memory of our departed friend.

We will all be freed of the prisons of our mind, and/or our bodies on death.  We hope that we will be freed to live in joy and peace with our Saviour.  We pray that those who do not know Him will come to that knowledge, so they can be with us in the paradise that we hope for for ourselves, as well.

But, while we are here, it is our duty to love one another, as Father MacRae does, and as Donna did.  Both give us examples of being prisoners for Christ.

May you rest in peace Donna, and pray for all those you have left behind.

Father Gordon, may you continue in your sacrificial love of your brothers and sisters, and may your personal suffering be used by and joined to Our Saviour for the benefit of those He sees fit to bestow it upon.

God Bless You both.

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