Reverend and Dear Father

Father Michael

Father Michael was just so MUCH per­son and he always made sure there was enough of him to go around. He took the time for us. Yes, he did all those love­ly, kind, fun­ny, holy, sil­ly, human things with and for us. Father Michael was so much a reflec­tion of the Lord in all ways. John the Baptist’s words “He must increase so I must decrease” bespeak our Father Michael’s life. He squeezed every iota of the Lord into his per­sona: His kind­ness, His love, His gen­eros­i­ty, His humil­i­ty, His suf­fer­ing, His atten­tion, His pres­ence. These were all facets of Father Michael which were so com­plete­ly good, so guile­less­ly pre­sent­ed, so aching­ly beau­ti­ful.

What a spe­cial man! How he could preach! It was always quite sim­ple- about our everyday,ordinary lives- but punc­tu­at­ed with joy and laugh­ter, with sad­ness and some­times tears , always with beau­ty, under­stand­ing and elo­quence. Father Michael’s gift to us there was only enhanced by his love for his prayer life- plain and sim­ple- it was the focal point of his day. He once joy­ous­ly told me “Guess what! Today I had three hours of con­tem­pla­tive prayer before Mass!” Anoth­er time, he spoke of peo­ple vis­it­ing reli­gious web­sites on the net. Father Michael said “I don’t know why they’d do that! I ‘d rather spend the time in church!”

Father Michael was a man of great com­pas­sion. Once he was talk­ing about a fam­i­ly he knew, and said, eyes welling up with tears  “Oh — Peo­ple have such suf­fer­ing in their lives!” He tru­ly suf­fered with people;it was very mov­ing to observe. Anoth­er time he lis­tened to a fam­i­ly sto­ry of mine: I relayed how, as a small boy in the 30’s, my dad had used his news­boy mon­ey to buy his old­er sis­ter some ice skates. I glanced at Father Michael and saw the tears form and fall. He loved see­ing the good­ness in peo­ple. “God is so good” he ‘d say again and again.

For me, it was the “being with” Father Michael that made such a dif­fer­ence in my life. The cir­cum­stances didn’t mat­ter; the truth of our Faith was sim­ply always there with him. It was a joy to be with him no mat­ter what. That was the King­dom of God- right there in Father Michael, plain as day–in that win­some yet wise pres­ence, in that lov­ing heart, in that smil­ing coun­te­nance of peace. If you were with him, you felt it, you saw it, you believed it and knew it — the truth.….. the good­ness of God.

 

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