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'Do this in Memory of Me'

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By Mary Regina Morrell
©Catholic Online 2005

"Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future." ~ Corrie ten Boom

Holy Week, Holy Thursday in particular, is always a time when I am reminded of the important role of memories in our lives.

It begins when I hear Christ's words as he celebrated the Passover meal with his friends - "Do this in memory of me."

I was thinking of that recently when I passed a sign hanging in the window of a local one-hour photo mart: "Memories - Fix Them, Change Them, Color Them. The way they were only better."

In an attempt to sell customers on the idea of restoring old photographs, and perhaps removing Uncle Harry from the picture in the process, this retailer had unwittingly expressed a very sad commentary on our culture.

We live in an age that embraces the maxim, "Have it your way!" - our houses, our cars, our meals, our jobs, our clothes, and even our memories, are subject to manipulation until they are exactly as we feel they should be.

What is seriously detrimental to the human spirit is the subsequent pervasive feeling of emptiness that accompanies our constant striving for perfection - even in terms of our past experiences.

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It is true that memories are not always pleasant. In fact, Jesus could attest to the fact that memories are often incredibly painful. But taken together, they tell the story of our past, the joys, the sorrows, the fears, the accomplishments, the obstacles we have navigated to become who we are. To "color" this past reality in order to avoid our pain is to attempt to forget those crosses that have lead to our "becoming."

Sharing our memories can lead to healing for us and serve as buoys for others who are trying to make their way through life.

In my home the "when I was young...'" stories start eyeballs rolling! One year my son bought my husband a birthday card that read: "I know, when you were young you had to walk five miles to be born!''

Sure, when parents and grandparents retell the memories of their youth, the tales are likely to be as tall as Paul Bunyan, but the value of these exaggerated stories is to show children that the lumps and bumps in the road of life are not only inevitable but invaluable as well. The sooner they learn to negotiate around or over them the more capable they become to negotiate through life.

As children of God, the memories of Christ form the foundation of our faith and his most painful memories form the reason for our hope in spite of the lumps, bumps or earthquakes of our lives.

I, for one, am grateful that Jesus never tried to fix his memories.

For Christians, they couldn't get any better than they already are.


Diocese of Metuchen
hhtp:// NJ, US
Mary Regina Morrell - Associate Director, Office of Religious Education, 732 562-1990



memories, Holy Week, Christ

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