I just returned from Deacon Larry’s funeral – a man who served St. Patrick Parish for almost 30 years. He touched many, many people through celebrating baptisms and weddings, visiting the sick, and praying with families.
This morning I looked around the full church and noticed how many present students and their families, as well as alums and their families, were in attendance. The sight of the strong Warrior community and nation brought me to tears – not that bringing me to tears is hard to do – I cry at every episode of This Is Us and will cry at a great interview after a big Notre Dame win – but seeing the love, the loyalty, and the strong faith connection of our school community was moving.
As I reflected on this show of love and support, I felt proud to be a part of this wonderful, prayerful, and faith-filled community. It is at times like these that we need each other – that we count on the witness of others – to find strength and to feel support in our grieving.
We do not, however, end is sorrow and sadness. We implore our faith community to help us focus upon the words of Jesus: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Fr. Redcay told us in the homily that when Deacon Larry was ordained, the Cardinal handed him the Book of the Gospels and said: “Believe what you read, Teach what you believe, and Practice what you teach.” We ask Deacon Larry to help us follow his example and do the same – to Believe, Teach, and Practice – to visit the sick, care for each other, and continue to pray as a faith community.
Deacon Larry, pray for us and help us to be strong messengers of the Gospel by our words and actions.
For the past 3 years, a good friend of mine – shout out to Kay – challenged me to think of 3 words to focus on during the year instead of making New Year’s resolutions. My 3 words for this year are Prayer, Pace, and Party.
Pace – This is a carry over from my Advent focus. I really tried to be mindful about slowing down my pace (not my running pace because that is slow enough!) – especially my inner pace – so that I could enjoy and be present to the moment. While I have been working on this since Advent, I am nowhere near close to being good at it – it is hard work to slow down my mind and feet in order to be able to appreciate and drink in the moment.
Prayer – I want/need to give more time to be present, to reflect, to listen, to read the Gospels and learn more about the message of Jesus Christ. Hopefully this will allow me to share and be The Message to all those with whom I come in contact.
Party – I love to have fun, laugh, joke around, tell stories, and have a great time. I want to make sure I take time enjoy my friends, family, co-workers, students – to know that these moments are a gift – to be able to treasure them and not take them for granted. Part of this party theme to continuing to work on my bucket list – the more I cross off, the more I add to the list – adventure – fun – party!
What are your three words?
The presents have been opened and put away, stockings have been emptied, trees and decorations have been taken down, and we have eaten more cookies and treats than we care to admit. So, I find myself asking, “what am I going to do for the rest of this year about this Baby Jesus who came into the world – who came to save us – who came to change our lives and our hearts?” How am I going to use his messages of joy, peace, forgiveness, presence, and healing in my daily life? How am I going to bring this message to all with whom I meet? And, how am I going to remember these messages when life gets tough, when I am sad, when pain and suffering come into my life?
I think part of the answer is reminding myself that this Baby Jesus came to save me – he came to comfort and guide me, he came to listen and be part of my life, and he came to call me to be in a closer and deeper relationship with him.
This baby Jesus is challenging us to be nice – to share his love – to treat others the way we want to be treated – to be a good friend – to take time to pray, to be quiet and listen – to be present to the Presence.
Let us allow this Baby Jesus to come into our lives each day – let us pray to be aware of his presence, because, a Baby Can Change Everything.