16 October 2008

With dreams of a paradise

Yesterday after classes at the high school I went to Springfield to attend the visitation of Fr. Robert Franzen, a retired priest of our Diocese who died on Saturday. I went last night because I wasn't able to attend the funeral this morning.
About a third of the way to the See City I wished I hadn't set out, but I knew I had to keep going. I found myself driving through downpours of rain most of the way and my joints began to swell. Driving in rain has never been good for my arthritis, and when the temperature suddenly plummeted twelve degrees in about ten minutes, I knew I was done for; my energy seemed to "bottom out."
I arrived in Springfield in time to have dinner with the Vocations Director and the Bishop and was very glad I still had my coat in my car from a soccer game a few days ago. It was about fifty-two degrees, but I was freezing. Leaving the Cathedral Rectory I said to Fr. House, "It feels like snow." And I meant it.
Before I left the Cathedral I was shown the interior to the Cathedral which is currently being restored. The pews have been completely removed to be refinished and without them the basillica form of the Cathedral is most apparent. It seemed so open and much larger, reminding of the basilicas of Rome. I almost wish we'd keep it that way.
After praying at the visitation and talking with a couple of other priests, I made my way back to Effingham, arriving about 9:30. I walked into the rectory and, upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, said aloud, "I don't want to do this." I made my way up the stairs with my knees feeling every step of the way.
This morning, after a good night's sleep and a long one, I still was nearly exhausted and my knees remained weak. I gave the students a quite day to ask questions and work on review questions, in part because of my lack of energy.
I've just returned from RCIA after teaching about the Blessed Trinity. They said it went well. And now I'm worn out.
It's going to be a very long winter. And it's only autumn.

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