Almighty and everlasting God, You knit together Your faithful people of all times and places into one holy communion, the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that, together with them, we may come to the unspeakable joys You have prepared for those who love You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
My grandmother was a woman of extraordinary skills, not necessarily the skills people appreciate today, but skills, nonetheless. I believe that in another time/place she might have excelled at mathematics. She could hold complicated patterns in her head. People would bring her a piece of torn lace and she could fix it. Making lace involves a complicated interplay of threads to create the intricate patterns in which people delight. She was able to look at a piece of lace and understand the pattern. She kept a vast collection of thread in her home and could often match dye lots. It was said that when she handed the piece back to you, you could not tell where the tear had been, it was like new.
The prayer says that God knits us together. In complicated relationships and mystical bonds, God has united all his people of every time and place into one people. As we have celebrated All Saints Day many of us might have come to this day mourning the passing of a friend, a sibling, a parent, a child, or a spouse. I read this prayer and immediately thought of my grandmother with her knitting needles in hand, clacking in the corner of her home. She could also knit very fast while talking even faster. Today I count on those bonds. My grandmother died some years ago, a life well lived and full of years, leaving a ragged, painful hole in the lives of the folks who loved her. Yet, when I come to the sacrament of the altar and partake of that feast, I am eating with her and all my loved ones who have been gathered into Jesus’ arms. Many parishes have a communion rail, often a semi-circular place for us kneel at the altar as we receive the sacrament. I often like to imagine that the railing continues all the way around the altar. On the other side, a side which I can see only with eyes of faith, kneels my grandparents, parents, and many others whose absence I feel and whose presence I long for.