Praying for Eternal Love with Williams ’92

Heavenly widened roses seem to whisper to me when you smile. (Cowboy Junkies)

Catholic chaplain Father Gary Caster has installed a cozy, catacombs-like Blessed Sacrament chapel in the bowels of the stately Gothic Williams-College church–an edifice the door of which very few of my classmates ever darkened.

An icon of Christ, Judge of all and Lord of history, hangs on the back wall of the Newman chapel.

Mark Taylor ruled the Religion Dept. here twenty-five years ago. I had no patience for his deconstructionism. I preferred to read St. Thomas Aquinas.

But yesterday a couple dear buddies and I visited Dr. Taylor’s home for old time’s sake. And it turns out he’s more Catholic than I thought. He keeps a large reliquary cabinet in his library. That is: film canisters full of small quantities of dirt taken from the gravesites of his favorite philosophers and poets–including Wallace Stevens!

When my Williams days ended, and adulthood beckoned, and I said goodbye to the people with whom I just spent this past weekend, I thought to myself: can the joy and adventure of waking up to life with these companions really be over? Nostalgia for the sweet, ginny evenings we had together will crush me!

But nostalgia can only cripple the heart of a pagan. The dust collected in Dr. Taylor’s cannisters will stir again. Life and truth and now will conquer regret and loss and forgetfulness.

The great Pantocrator of Nazareth gathers up every moment of real love in our lives, and He saves it for the great Day. A consummation awaits. Greater even than the unforgettably sweet reunion we just had.

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