God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

A Life Changing Experience


Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp in the Catacombs of Paris Photograph taken by Michael Reeve, 30 January 2004 via wiki commons

Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp in the Catacombs of Paris
Photograph taken by Michael Reeve, 30 January 2004 via wiki commons

One day in Paris, France, some years ago, I went through an experience of a startling discovery. At breakfast, in the monastery where I was residing, le Foyer Sacerdotale, a Lebanese priest told me of the Catacombs of Paris.

A short bus ride took me to these ancient burial grounds, situated in the heart of the city, underneath several busy, elegant boulevards. As I went down the hundred feet on a spiral staircase, I felt a great silence envelope me.  This is the way it will be when the cover of my coffin will be closed on me forever, I said to myself – this complete silence!

For 45 minutes, all alone, I walked along the path that brought me to the other end of the Catacombs. What a powerful mediation this turned out to be for me.  In the galleries, on either side of the pathway, human bones were stacked in neat piles, the remains of French people buried around 1850 A.D.  Human skulls, with their empty, staring “eyes”, made up pyramids of death.

One paramount thought filled my mind in this walk among the dead – a thought that still influences my daily life many years later. The body I pamper so much with food, rest and extreme care will one day look like these bare bones.  How carefully I cater to every whim of my body, so selfish in all its demands for satisfaction.  Still, the final end of the body lies here before me in these Catacombs of Paris.

  At that time, I resolved, there, far beneath the noise and the frantic traffic of Parisian boulevards, to give more time and care to my spirit, that part of me that will never see death.  My spirit deserves nourishment and attention more than my body, a temporary shell to be cast aside at death.  Prayer, reading about Jesus of Nazareth, the worship of God at Mass – all these build up the powers of my spirit.

I ascended to the street level, to the noise and clatter of life, delighted I still had time to carry out this great discovery I had come upon while in the bowels of the earth. I frequently read and mediate on Psalm 90: “We glide along the tides of time as swiftly as a racing river, and vanish as quickly as a dream. We are like grass that is green in the morning, but mowed down before the evening shadows fall.”

These few verses sum up my feelings at the present time. Take care of the body as needs be, but give prime time to the spirit within.  Our days left are few!  My trip to the Catacombs of Paris proved to be worthwhile.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

April 9, 2016 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. Hi Father McKenna ,
    Your words today are so inspirational! It’s a great reminder that we all need to feed our spirit for that is the most important part of us the part where God takes residence! I hope all is well with you and this finds you in good health !

    Comment by Rita Parsons | April 9, 2016 | Reply

  2. Well said as always dear fr G

    Comment by PARKER | April 9, 2016 | Reply

  3. How faith & spiritual nourishment matter the most…on this short earthly pilgrimage! Thank you always Fr. George! Your words have such an impact on our faith journey! God Bless you! Marianne

    Comment by mcs | April 9, 2016 | Reply

  4. Once again, your poignant message hits home. Thank you for your insights and wanting to continue sharing your wisdom.

    Comment by Donna Kurcz | April 10, 2016 | Reply

  5. Hi Fr. George! That is a beautiful story – again, your rich words paint a wonderful picture of your message – to take more care of the spirit! So true, and how the words resonate with me! I remember a preacher who was at the nursing home where my mom was a resident – who likened our brief time on earth as the wisp of steam that escapes when lifting the lid on a boiling pot of water. Compared to eternity, our 100 or so years on earth (at most) is just a wisp.

    I saw something similar in Hallstatt, Austria. The skulls were painted/decorated and placed on tables, while the long bones were stacked below. It was very interesting to see. And one of the skulls had the last name of “Binder” and that was just 5 months after losing my dear friend, Kay Binder. It made me do a double take!

    I have seen that your spring weather is looking a lot like winter instead! I hope that you soon have beautiful days with warm sunshine and the sound of the robins chirping outside your window. We’ve had some record warmth here – Linda and my sister-in-law are coming to visit in about two weeks, so I hope that the warm and clear weather continue!

    Love you, my dear friend – thank you for your uplifting post and for reminding me of what is most important!

    Love,
    Nancy

    Comment by nancywest22 | April 10, 2016 | Reply

  6. Hi, I’m questioning how do I add a couple of names to the list that receives the weekly email post GOD IS GOOD?

    Is this where I add, or can you send me the page?

    The following two acquaintances of Fr. George McKenna would love to get them: please add:

    Thanks, Francine Anderson

    Comment by franand908 | April 19, 2016 | Reply

    • Francine, Thank you. An invitation has been sent to the two individuals you had indicated.

      Comment by Fr. George McKenna | May 2, 2016 | Reply


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