The rector was out of town and I was asked to offer the Masses at the cathedral in his place. While vesting in the sacristy, I noticed a picture on the wall, a drawing of a young John the Baptist. It was striking. I studied it a moment, figuring it was a print of some timeless classic.
I was wrong.
In 1907, a daughter of pioneer ranchers, Kostka Harvey, became a teacher and established the first Catholic school in the Texas panhandle. Among the subjects she taught was art and this picture was one of her drawings.
I learned all this from the deacon who was vesting alongside me. But what he said next riveted my attention.
“The picture was donated to the cathedral by a woman named Pat Seal.”
“Pat Seal?” I turned and looked at him. “I know her.”
“The artist was her grandmother.”
I turned back to the drawing, stunned by the coincidence. Pat lives more than two hours away, yet she and some family members were driving to the city this evening to attend the Ranch Rodeo Finals. I’d be joining them in the stands after Mass.
The older I become, the more intriguing the connections between past and present.
The New Testament uses the word kairos to describe experiences that bear a foretaste of eternity. St. Paul expanded on this notion when he wrote, “In God, we live and move and have our being.”
Occasionally, such moments break into our awareness. When they do, the walls of time fall away.
The One who comes after me existed before me.
In the side room of a church, a silent picture sings the song of a young woman at an easel. Pencil in hand, she is humming. A smile plays on her lips.
She is drawing the face of a prophet. Through an open window, the sound of children at play. Bells chime.
Today, at this moment, the artist and the prophet draw us to God.
Timeless? Yes, timeless!