"Receive My Memory"

John Breslin, SJ, is a teacher, writer, and all-around literary man.  He edited a great anthology of religious short stories called The Substance of Things Hoped For. He has written for many journals and magazines.  Today he is sadly slipping into Alzheimer’s.  His friend Evelyn Bence recently wrote a lovely blog post about John.    She traveled to the care facility at Fordham University in New York where he lives and took him for a walk around the campus where he used to teach:

We slipped into the chapel. From a back pew, I pointed out the large Stations of the Cross-fully illustrated scenes carved as wall paneling; the Stations complement towering stained-glass portrayals of the Evangelists. As we rested, I tried to draw John out. “Remember that Ignatian prayer, from the Exercises, ‘Take, Lord, receive…my memory’? Ever think about it?” Into your hands I commend myself.

“I don’t know what he’d ever do with my memory,” said John, puzzled.

Thank God I thought of something to say. “Maybe it’s like our tears. A psalm says he puts them in a bottle. You know, for safe keeping.”

“You sure? I don’t remember that.”

“I’m sure.”


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