Sunday, November 10, 2019, 12:45 p.m.
I’m sitting in St. Daniel’s Adoration Chapel, just after Mass. It’s warm inside, too warm. The chapel is spacious with a dazzling monstrance, a yard high, standing vigil on a white marble pedestal covered by a satin-fringed cap. Its base the size of a dinner plate, its cross points flared wings, 14 rays outstretched in each quarter of the cross, a brilliant gold embracing the Eucharist, a white moon reflecting back, absorbing sins, listening to pleas, acknowledging thanksgiving.
An elderly woman approaches the candle stand to the left of the monstrance. Above it hangs a marble cross, but it doesn’t look like Jesus. Maybe St. Daniel? She lights a candle.
Before me kneel a mother and perhaps 10-year-old daughter with a purple ribbon in her hair. They have matching blue winter coats, both staring intently ahead, the daughter occasionally turning to her mother, then again looking straight ahead.
The mother and daughter approach the candles. The mother indicates to the daughter how to light the candle, how to put in a bill into the payment slot, how to stand before the candles and pray. The mother places her arm around the daughter’s shoulders. Perhaps they are praying for someone who has died. On the way out, they study the wall adorned with relics preserved in medallions of about 200 saints.
I have so many souls to pray for during this month of November, dedicated to the dead. The candles flicker in their golden glasses like amber lights, and they beckon me. Twenty candles glimmer before me, five in a row. Eleven are lit, mine will be the twelfth. I choose the candle in the lower right corner for my grandfather, Jonas Noreika, make a sign of the cross, and pray for his soul, for my own soul, for my daughter’s soul, and for the soul of Lithuania.
I know it makes no sense, but I have come to believe my daughter’s death is part of the curse our family bears for so many sins–her parents’ sins, her grandparents’ sins, and her great grandparents’ sins.
I have also come to believe that the only way to save our souls is to confess our sins so that we can stay in a state of grace. My investigation on my grandfather is a confession to save my dearly departed family’s souls.
HarperCollins Mexico has picked up Storm in the Land of Rain for the Spanish speaking population. It is being translated into Spanish now. Still no timeline, but will keep you posted.