Thursday, April 13, 2006

Weird Yet Wonderful

On Ash Wednesday it seemed pretty clear, or so I thought, what the Lord was asking of me for the coming Holy Lent, and I freely agreed in my heart.

Well we all know that IF it is actually our idea and not HIS things can get turned on their head and that certainly has been the past many weeks for me.

I am not complaining. Actually I am smiling for always His Will is gift, gift of pain and struggle often, but always wrapped in joyous grace.

So most of Lent was NOT spent in the solitude of the hermitage, writing this Blog or getting, finally, the revamping of the done – in fact as regards the latter since the company which is the hosting webmaster is moving to a new location that project may not be complete until May!

Emails [ I deeply treasure each on you send ] snail mail, articles, hours of silent prayer, reading, everything like cutting down on smoking, sweets, more time praying the Stations of the Cross…..well you get the idea….none of it happened the WAY I expected!

Rather between therapy appoints dealing with recovery from two car accidents, the need for volunteers at the soup kitchen, countless people asking to chat here and there, the need to be present to family as a new one was about to be born – well my Lent seemed rather weird, until listening to my whining about the smashing of MY Lenten plan, a dear friend said: “But Father, you have spent Lent serving! What could be better!”


Which brings me to that gift of grace wrapped in the joy of being there when Lucille and John’s new child, Raymond was born; being able to hold him against my heart and marvel about both the mystery of new life within the sacredness of sacramental love and the mystery of Christ’s own birth!

To look into the face of the newborn is to look into the Face of Christ is to look into the Face of the Father and be filled with the love of the Holy Spirit who recreates us through the lavish river of grace and mercy flowing from the pierced Heart of Jesus.

I will be leaving in a few hours to spend the Tridium with the Staff of the soup kitchen, serving the hungry Christ as He comes to the door, celebrating the gift and mystery of Priesthood and Eucharist; joining many who, from the various Christian communities, will Good Friday morning walk about the inner city for the Stations of the Cross, participate in the Good Friday liturgy, the mysterious silence while Jesus is in the tomb and then, and then!!!!!!


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Beloved Daughter in Christ

{ Note: To understand the family connection between Lucille, John and myself I refer the reader to:
[Marriage] The Trouble with Boys ... or Should it be: The Crisis of the Absentee Father… posted on:
The January 1, 2006 post.}

Beloved Daughter in Christ, Lucille,

One of the most often repeated urgings of beloved Pope John Paul the Great was that we should constantly “..go to the school of Mary!”

The past few days have been very stressful for you and John as the Little One seemed to be about to arrive and currently appears to be taking a wee rest before arriving.

You also expressed, very openly and humbly yesterday your concern about burdening me, taking me away from what stuff I have to do.

Well I have prayed much about that throughout the night and this morning and here is what Our Blessed Mother has shown to my heart:

Yesterday when Joe and I were in John’s office while John completed the proposal Joe had to take to present, John remarked how you and he and I “..we all find it pretty hard to accept help from someone else, it’s one of the things we have in common!”

Later when Joe and I were driving back from presenting the proposal I remarked what an odd Lent I have been having, not having been able to fulfill a single one of the promises made to the Lord on Ash Wednesday and having been out of the poustinia every single day so far this Lent!

“Well, “ said Joe, “ that’s great because it means you have been serving all Lent long!”

Lucille, one of the most consistent graces in my life since, through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother responding to your prayer and St. Joseph responding to John’s, has been with me everyday since you and I first met in the Sicilian restaurant, when John introduced us and had already proposed holy marriage to you.

That grace is your presence in my life.

I truly love you and being with you and John and Anne-Marie IS for me to be in the school of our Blessed Mother, indeed Lucille you are a great teacher and I treasure everything you say/write to me.

Yesterday is an example when you spoke about our Blessed Mother and what she endured on the donkey ride to Bethlehem and how it was no wonder her Child was born right thereafter.

This led me this morning to extend the contemplation of the ride to Jesus entering, as He will Sunday, into Jerusalem and how intimately from the beginning our Blessed Mother is united to Jesus in every aspect of His Passion.

Every moment spent with you, with Anne-Marie, with John, be it when I am alone with anyone of you or when we are all together, is for me a river of grace, an experience of holiness, a true education and I am much healthier and holy as a man, priest, father, above all more of a servant, because of being in the very school of Mary Pope John Paul speaks of when I am with you.

I know it is a stressful time for you Lucille and that you will enter the mystery and gift of the kiss of Christ when in labour and John, whose love for you is immense, bears that pain himself, like St. Joseph present, helping with the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It is to be deeply priest, like St. John at the foot of the Cross, to be there watching over Anne-Marie when the time comes, to be called as throughout Monday night and yesterday to be present. The fact the Little One decided to delay arriving is not important, being there was/is and the being there was/is to be immersed in the river of grace.

To serve is never burdensome for me, be it serving you or our brothers and sisters and the Staff at the soup kitchen.

True serving through the mystery of His Kiss in the pain of a false accusation, and sharing the pain of so many priests who also have been so accused - yeah, that is burdensome – but it too is a mystery of grace beyond anything I understand.

Without detailing any specifics, suffice to say since I was a wee child, until you took me into your heart and honoured me last year to be there when Anne-Marie was born, virtually all my experiences regarding families and children involved the struggle to rescue or protect women and children from various forms of abuse – and always as a priest my presence in a hospital, in particular labour and delivery was because someone, either mother or child, was dying or dead.
Two years ago close to sixty years of grief was lifted when you and John asked me to be present when Anne-Marie was born. It was like being in Bethlehem for I was present in the luminosity of life…death was for once no where present and what an immense grace!

Indeed I was humbled and thrilled to be present in the school of Mary through you and John.

Once again this Lent I am awash in such grace, again thanks to you and John and the children.

To serve as a Father and Grandfather since Our Lady and St. Joseph intervened and brought you and John into the splendour of holy marriage in Jesus, and since the birth of Anne-Marie has been no real effort, certainly never a burden, rather a constant blessing.


With my love and blessing,

Your Dad in Jesus and Mary.