The following is taken from a reflection shared by Sister Maureen Doyle at the recent Memorial Mass for Sister Suzanne Cubbison.
"Into your hands, I commend my spirit"
Sr Suzanne’s choice of Readings for our Memorial Mass offers us hope, comfort and encouragement. These words are a Scriptural message to us affirming our confidence in God’s loving care---both in life and in death.
She was a humble presence in the world, quietly contributing to the reign of God. As an Ursuline, she shared our life in every way, engaging in deep prayer, participating in ministry and sharing her Ursuline life with community members.
The author of the Book of Wisdom instructs us that the souls of the just only appear to die, when in truth, they are at peace. Having been tried and tested, they shine as sparks from fire. As we grieve the loss of Sr Suzanne, we know that she, in the words of the Book of Wisdom, is living with Godnow in love and held in “grace and mercy.”
In the Letter to the Romans, Suzanne’s choice of scripture echoes St Paul and St Angela in her conviction that she belonged to her loving God, not only in her life, but also, now in death. She was always an important member of her family; her relationship to her sisters is a bond that cannot be broken not even in death. She visited, traveled and enjoyed spending time with family.
Sr Suzanne chose very specific verses of Luke’s Gospel. She invites us to reflect upon Jesus’ Last Words from the Cross and she personally and confidently echoes them to us: “Into your hands, I commend my spirit.”
She purposely chose the verse which describes Joseph of Arimathea who lived in the hope of seeing the Kingdom of God as he cared for the body of Jesus, wrapped it in a cloth and secured a tomb. Joseph acted in a way that made his faithpublic. There was no turning back; he was now known as a follower of Jesus Christ. His action of caring for the body of Jesus holds an example for us as we learn to trust in God’s timing.
Joseph probably had no idea the days or weeks before the crucifixion that he would be the one to honor Jesus’ body by burying Him according to custom. Yet, when the time came he stepped out in faith. While Jesus’ twelve disciples were scattered, Joseph was in the right position, the right place, and acted at just the right time.
You might be in the right place at the right time to make a decision for the cause of Christ. It might come today or even next week, but the point is we need to be ready. For Joseph of Arimathea, the opportunity arrived, and he was ready, he stepped out.
Suzanne’s final decision was her choice for a natural burial for her final resting place, to be carefully wrapped in a cloth and placed in the ground. She prayed and prepared for her liturgy, choosing Readings and songs as well as directions on how she would be laid to rest.
As she planned, perhaps she considered how Jesus was buried. She may have asked herself where she might have been and what she might have done for Jesus had she been present at his death? She was laid to rest as Jesus was: at peace into God’s welcoming arms.
May the words of scripture inspire us as we pray in gratitude for Sr Suzanne’s life
June 21, 2021