This week, with death in the morning at the Washington Navy Yard, the touching revelation is found in the everyday, everyman characteristics of the victims.
Bulletins from the Human Side
Bulletins from the Human Side: Pope Francis told apostolic nuncios he wants pastoral men to be bishops, a potent, game-changing statement.
Bulletins of the Human Side: Pope Francis arrived just in time to arrest nostalgic flights back to the storied glory of a Catholicism that never existed.
Bulletins from the Human Side: Popes John XXIII and Francis, though separated by 50 years, possess the same master pastoral gene.
The elements thought by the early philosophers to have exploded out of the very eye of the hurricane of creation that scattered the galaxies across the cosmos -- earth, air, water and fire -- turned, as uncontrollable storms do, to wail and burn and wash over us all, leaving us, as religious mystery does, blinded by its light and unable to hurl even a word into the maw of its enveloping force.
Why is it that, although Pope Francis only entered our lives a season ago and Pope Benedict XVI spent eight long -- and I mean long -- years as our Holy Father, does Francis seem like someone we have known a long time while we may say of Benedict what the Irish say of Johnny, that we hardly knew ye?
Andrew Greeley, who was so deeply involved in the things of time, broke free of his shackles last week to enter fully the eternity whose boundaries he broke as easily as a champion miler does the tape on almost every day of his long and remarkable life.
I knew Andrew for half a century and, thinking of his quick smile and his twinkling eyes, I recall his telling me once that he expected heaven to be a homecoming, the scene of a family reunion whose joy is not threatened by the certainty that its magic and mystery will end with sundown.
The people of Newtown, Conn., including some of the family members of those killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School half way through December, found themselves asking an unanticipated and painful question early in the new year.
On Easter Sunday, Mary Louise Schniedwind shook free of the shackles of time to be waived across the border into the Eternal. No need to check her papers; she had been there before, and everybody knew her anyway. She was in her 98th year, acting and looking much younger, still as single-eyed as we are bidden to be in the Bible and, as everyone blessed enough to know can tell you, ever-youthful in her interests and activities, less concerned with what was past than with what was yet to come.
Bulletins from the Human Side: The pope's decision to only temporarily reappoint the Vatican bureaucracy has already brought change.