Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. – Mother Teresa
Okay, Tiny Nun. What were you up to? Were you working, the whole time, not to make life better in Kolkata for the most pitiful ones, but rather, combing through them with your rakes of joy to glean enough souls to feed the Heavenly Side? Perhaps on the next level, life after the physical, there is a need for joyous souls transcendant, to manage the celestial climate, and keep us safe down here, and keep the world spinning in wholeness and health in balance with a living, singing universe.
Perhaps ‘climate change’ is code for lack of desire for the Heavenly Beloved. Perhaps when unbelievers die, their souls simply disperse, and then the ozone layer cannot hold, and then the carbon dioxide muffles down, and then the ocean currents run slow and sluggish – all for lack of joyous souls singing after death?
Or is it as the Old People have it here, that the ancestors dance in the northern lights? Would that be the same, on some quantum level? All the souls of those who loved and were loved in return while they lived get to join that dance, and then they are ancestors. And as long as we down here lift up songs of thanks and joy to them, they’ll dance when they need to, to keep the solar flares from roasting us all, to keep this world alive in the celestial order of things.
Is it as the Chinese make it, the continuance of life requiring honour to the ancestors?
And what of birds, who sing everywhere at the break of day? Would the sun rise without them? By science, we might scoff and say, no, it is simply the turning world that brings us daily again to face the sun. But what keeps us spinning? Is it the collective weight of the songs of birds, their faithful joy in raising song after song, each tiny, but altogether, summing enough to turn the whole world?
Is there a science for this, Tiny Nun? Did you know a way to weigh the songs of birds, in terms of their physics, their disturbance of the air and sky, their cumulative turbulence and its effects upon the atmosphere? Or did you merely – merely! – wake one morning, caught in a net of song, caught in a net of joy, and realise that nothing mattered more to you than to let the rest of your life be given to service to those whose voices were not heard, whose songs in one sweaty, burling city might sway the world in a good direction?
Who was caught in that net, Tiny Nun? By your face, by your steadfast gumption and headstrong commitment to your chosen path, I’d judge that it was you.
*This year, I am honouring my mom’s passing by writing throughout the Advent season, following as prompts the daily quotations cited in the free online calendar put out by the Catholic Medical Mission Board Mom was a lifelong Roman Catholic, and I was raised with the Church as a contentious part of our family life, given that my Ojibwe dad’s family was so affected by the church. Nonetheless, her faith was important to Mom, so this is a tribute to her. It’s also a reflection on how religions influence in many ways.
If you like these posts, please also consider donating, in the memory of Albina Sewell, to Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton; her chosen charity for memorials is not religiously affiliated, but serves all children.