Answering the Call

Two years ago today, I stopped to vis­it Father Michael in the sac­risty after he’d cel­e­brat­ed Mass for the Assump­tion. He was in quite a mel­low and hap­py mood and told me that the date of August 15, 1981 was very mem­o­rable for him. This was the date that he had flown from Cana­da to enter the Domini­can novi­tiate in Den­ver,  Col­orado. And because of the feast day, Father M felt that there was that spe­cial con­nec­tion to the Blessed Moth­er. As I lis­tened to his hap­py rem­i­nisc­ing, I saw it was obvi­ous­ly a very spe­cial mem­o­ry for Father Michael.

Last year, Father Michael was leav­ing for a trip to vis­it fam­i­ly on this date. So I didn’t see him. I remem­bered that he’d said a close friend had been upset in 1981 that he would choose to min­is­ter in the Unit­ed States rather than Cana­da. Father Michael had dual Canadian/American cit­i­zen­ship, but in his heart of hearts , he was a loy­al Cana­di­an. I’m sure that leav­ing his home­land was a dif­fi­cult part of his deci­sion. So I sent him a text thank­ing him for choos­ing to come to serve in my coun­try and for the ‘yes’ of his priest­hood. But I know for Father Michael, the true ‘draw’ of the Cen­tral Domini­can Province  was that they were tru­ly like a fam­i­ly. That was so impor­tant for him. Father Michael cher­ished his fam­i­ly in Cana­da and came to cher­ish his Domini­can fam­i­ly in the same way.

So today, I cel­e­brate what began thir­ty-three years ago on that brave flight to Den­ver. I am so grate­ful for all that Father Michael brought to us.

St. Dominic’s Feast

St Dominic by BotticelliToday is the Feast of St Dominic, so the Order of Preach­ers is pray­ing, preach­ing and.…partying. They have much to cel­e­brate in the gift of St Dominic and his vision of a unique way for a life to  serve the Lord. There is quite a lega­cy of Domini­can saints- St Thomas Aquinas, St Albert the Great, St Cather­ine of Siena, St Mar­tin de Por­res, St Rose of Lima ‚to name just a few.

And of course we for­tu­nate ones have expe­ri­enced the real, grace-filled influ­ences of many Domini­can sis­ters and priests in our own lives.That brings me, of course,to Father Michael Kyte.….what a won­der­ful Domini­can he was. So often he spoke with great ten­der­ness of his Domini­can broth­ers, the com­mu­ni­ty. Father Michael told me often things like “Father Louie is so kind and always good to me”. Or “Oh Father Rick is so holy and so learned, a schol­ar; he reminds me of St Dominic”. Or (talk­ing to me on the phone) “I ‘m here in the laun­dry room,watching one of the senior Fathers iron­ing his habit. I am hum­bled watch­ing him as I real­ize he has been iron­ing his habit with such care and love every day for over six­ty years.” Father Michael saw all the good­ness and bless­ings in his Domini­can com­mu­ni­ty life.…and tru­ly loved his broth­ers.

Preach­ing and pray­ing were a giv­en for Father Michael. He always claimed he was ‘no aca­d­e­m­ic’ yet I know he stud­ied and read all the time. And all of us ben­e­fit­ed from how he shared his learning-“the fruits of con­tem­pla­tion”, if you will. Father Michael was a true son of St Dominic.

I read Alden Solovy’s newest poem on http://tobendlight.com  this morn­ing. It’s beau­ti­ful-about mir­a­cles- all kinds, large and small. We’ve all expe­ri­enced them-gifts from our Heav­en­ly Father. Some­times the mir­a­cles are the spe­cial peo­ple in our lives. On this St. Dominic’s Day, I’m shar­ing this sim­ple, yet exquis­ite poem:

About Mir­a­cles
Majes­tic Sov­er­eign,
Source of awe and won­der,
When did You decide
To make dai­ly mir­a­cles so sim­ple,
So gen­tle, so qui­et and so small?
Did our fear of Your Voice
Echo­ing from the moun­tain top
Push You away?
Or was this Your plan all along?
To show us Your Glo­ry
In fire and smoke,
In the part­ed sea,
In the dark­ness and in the light,
And then to draw away
So that we would
Yearn for You to be near,
So that we would yearn
For your pow­er and might,
For Your holi­ness
And for Your sal­va­tion?
Or are You wait­ing, patient­ly,
To return, again, with signs
And with won­ders?

 

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