|Clipper, in Nichols, looking for chickens in the snow|
But these and the many other memories of those early years in Connecticut never take me beyond our home and its immediate surroundings. I have no recollection of any other place at that time of my life. I know, for example, that I spent some months at a local nursery school, run I believe by a Mrs. Curtis, but can recall nothing of it. I'm also certain Mom took us on occasion to Beardsley Park in Bridgeport; I have photographs, but no memories. Indeed, my earliest memories of places outside the home are of school and church, later memories from our life in New York. I find this very odd, but I suppose memories, especially those of early childhood, are fickle, capricious things. Who knows? Perhaps, as I enter this last phase of my life, memories of those earliest days will come flooding back and overpower the recall of more recent events, like what I had for breakfast.
I think it interesting that the very first symbolic object I can recall is a crucifix, the Cross of Calvary. This is particularly pleasing to me. I'm happy that I was blessed with this early memory, a memory that has never faded. For some, as St. Paul reminds us, the Cross remains a stumbling block, and for others a folly [See 1 Cor 1:18-24]. But for the faithful, it is the overpowering sign of our faith and calls to mind St. Paul's wonderful words to the Christians of Corinth:
"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified" [1 Cor 2:2].Sometimes that's exactly the way I feel. When something triggers the early memory of that crucifix I can think of little else. The image fills my thoughts. The Cross exerts power not just over you and me, but over all of creation. St. Paul, of course, recognized full well the tremendous power of the Cross of Christ:
"But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" [Gal 6:14].And I find myself pitying those who reject the Cross, those who actually despise it; for St. Paul also address them in his unambiguous way:
"For many, as I have often told you and now tell you even in tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the Cross of Christ. Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their 'shame.' Their minds are occupied with earthly things" [Phil 3:18-19].More on the Cross of Christ in my next post; but in the meantime, pray for those who "conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ."
Pax et bonum...