Just a short note to focus the spotlight on the ‘little things’ on this blog. Father Michael often used those two words. I remember mostly hearing them in his beautiful homilies. Father Michael spoke so often of the important ideals, lifestyles,choices, that we selected for our lives- how we accommodated our faith to those choices . He always emphasized the little things that made the difference in our dealingswith each other. Father M saw the reality of our Faith and the Lord’s presence in the everyday, in the ordinary.
One day Father Michael was marveling about a vendor he passed daily near St Pius in Pilsen. Father Michael said he greeted the man each day with an “¡Hola!” and the man always smiled and returned the greeting. The vendor kept busy through the day selling Mexican beverages and snacks from a cart. Father Michael told me, “He works so happily, I’m sure he is a holy man.” Well, on this particular day, when Father first glimpsed him, the man appeared to be relaxing. But as he came closer , Father M saw that the vendor was engrossed in a book — and it just happened to be a Bible!! This gave Father Michael such joy. It was like an affirmation of the goodness he had always assumed. This was just a little thing, but to Father M, it spoke volumes.
Once Father Michael shared some lovely memories of growing up, watching his mother launder, mend, air dry and iron the family’s sheets. A big job for a family that large, but definitely one of those ‘little things’. Father spoke tenderly about how she diligently patched the worn sheets. I wrote him an email thanking him for the story-which I thought said much about his own character. He graciously answered:
“I did love my birth mother. She was very playful (also extraordinarily organized- a trait I missed.)
I love old things. I love restored houses and patched sheets and patched shirts and mended socks and shoes that have been renewed at the shoe maker. Somehow they give me a great sense of people caring for people. ”
I think Father Michael stayed continually aware of so many of these little things-throughout his life. He easily saw the love in all of them, the ‘people caring for people’.