Visiting holy ground

Editor’s note: The words in italics below are lyrics from the song “Holy Ground,” by Geron Davis, © Geron Davis.

It’s a beautiful fall day. Jasper is only an hour or so away. It has been one year since my husband died. Now, having arrived at the cemetery, autumn leaves stirring, I park and walk up the slight incline towards his headstone nestled in the ground close to the huge oak tree nearby.

“I sensed God’s presence … And I knew this was the place where love abounds.”

Finding a comfortable spot near my husband’s resting place, my beloved and I meet again for our special visit.

 “And I knew this was the place where love abounds.”

My thoughts take special notice of the ground where I sit. “What makes this ground holy?” I quietly ask myself. My mind returns to the conclusion of his funeral Mass last October. The Funeral Rite called for the sprinkling of holy water and the censing of the casket, a way of venerating his body, which was brought into the Family of God through Baptism; anointed by the Holy Spirit in Confirmation; drenched in God’s forgiving love through the sacrament of Reconciliation; and united with God and his spouse in the sacrament of Matrimony. Most of all, his body was a unique, holy vessel enfolding the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of his beloved Savior in Holy Communion during the Masses he attended throughout his lifetime. His living body was God’s holy ground.

“For this is a temple, Jehovah God abides here … And we are standing in His presence….”

After the funeral, my husband’s body was escorted, with great reverence, in procession to this chosen place of rest, made holy on that brisk October day when his casket was sprinkled again with holy water and lowered in the blessed ground amidst quiet tears, a military salute, and cherished songs.

“In His presence there is joy beyond measure … And at His feet, peace of mind can still be found.”

Though I know his soul resides with his Creator, I am grateful that God allows both His and my husband’s presence to be keenly felt here today – just as it was then and often throughout the days of mourning; days when words and needs found difficulty reaching the surface.

“If you have a need, I know, He has the answer … Reach out and claim it…”

Peace is here. I am comforted and wait, with prayer to the Holy Spirit. I reminisce silently, sometimes vocally as if in conversation, and listen for a response. It comes in various ways, often from deep within, sometimes through nature’s sweet revelations. I smile. I chuckle. I cry. I reminisce some more. I laugh. I pray. And give thanks. Inside, I sense we are not alone.

“Yes, we’re standing on holy ground ... And I know that there are angels all around.”

The sun is waning. It is time to leave. I ponder our next visit. He and I know that the Prophetic Day will soon come; and at the trumpet blast, we will rise up with incorruptible bodies to meet our Savior and Lord in the sky. What promise of eternal love and joy we share here on earth’s holy ground, until that glorious day when that very promise will be fulfilled and all of creation will be praising Jesus, standing in His presence on His heavenly holy ground!

“Let us praise Jesus now ... Let us praise Jesus now … We are standing in His presence on holy ground.”

Kathleen Seng is a member of St. Benedict Cathedral Parish in Evansville.