One Who Seeks, Finds

Cel­e­brat­ing my birth­day today. I’m remem­ber­ing fond­ly that Father Michael char­ac­ter­ized me as a seek­er. I was com­pli­ment­ed, though I nev­er quite under­stood exact­ly what he meant. So often I thought the whole key to what I might be seek­ing was just some­thing inde­fin­able in Father’s holy soul-some­thing that was right before me always,yet elu­sive . There was the grace of God, yes, but also some­thing unique in Father M’s per­son­al­i­ty, per­haps his upbring­ing, his edu­ca­tion, his adven­tures in the world—something that tru­ly set him apart. I was con­vinced that I need­ed to ques­tion him about how his life had unfold­ed and what led him to the Lord. I thought I would find this great answer that would be an inspi­ra­tion for my life. Well, it was like pulling teeth.….worse.Father Michael loved to talk, but not so much about him­self, par­tic­u­lar­ly his past. So I’m still won­der­ing, still try­ing to put togeth­er the mea­ger pieces he revealed. I’m try­ing to find…but I’m still a seek­er.….

Soooooooo, I’m indulging myself today.….going to the casi­no! Father Michael would have been so excit­ed for me! Also, as a treat, I’m putting love­ly Alan­na Boudreau’s song “Soli­tudes” on here . She is so full of faith and writes such thought­ful, beau­ti­ful songs. Her blog is also very well writ­ten; check it out:

http://alannaboudreau.wordpress.com/

A Piece of Work

10659323_792403544131940_8024746960880772086_nIn gen­uine grat­i­tude toward God man becomes beau­ti­ful. He emerges from imma­nence, from the con­fines of ego-relat­ed­ness and enters into the bliss­ful giv­ing of him­self to God, the quin­tes­sence of all glo­ry, into the realm of good­ness and true kind­ness. In grat­i­tude, man becomes great and expan­sive. Blessed and vic­to­ri­ous free­dom blooms in his soul.”

Just some short thoughts today.…the quote above is from  the book, The Art of Liv­ing by Diet­rich von Hilde­brand-his essay on grat­i­tude. I’ve had this book since the ear­ly ‘90s. I keep it bed­side and con­tin­ue to find new mean­ings and nuances in all its essays.

This quote has always been one of my favorites, but in re-read­ing it today, I am struck by how it cap­tures Father Michael and his ever-present grat­i­tude. Who can ever for­get all the times Father Michael said “God is so good”? He was con­stant­ly express­ing his grat­i­tude and call­ing our atten­tion to do the same.

Good and kind, great and expan­sive.…. beau­ti­ful. I am grate­ful to have seen the truth of this in Father Michael. Blooms of his soul!!!

And that brings this Shake­speare quote to mind:

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in rea­son, how infi­nite in fac­ul­ty! In form and mov­ing how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! in appre­hen­sion how like a god! The beau­ty of the world! The paragon of ani­mals!”

Blessing The Animals

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These pic­tures were tak­en on Octo­ber 4, 2012.…just a few months before Father Michael received his can­cer diag­no­sis. I had seen him after Mass the day before. He had told the sto­ry of his moth­er and the family’s sheets. Very touched, I’d writ­ten a note thank­ing him and he respond­ed the next day with:

I will bless the ani­mals at 2:30 pm. Why don’t you bring your dog? I have mass at noon.It is the feast of St.Francis.Have the best day ever.

Fr. M

Well, my dog Beck­et was very old, 14 years- with hip prob­lems. I tried to get him into my car which was in the garage, but he just couldn’t jump into the back seat! Beck­et weighed 140 pounds, so I also had trou­ble lift­ing him. It was a lost cause. I had start­ed ear­ly, but I didn’t make it to the bless­ing that day. Lat­er I told Father M what hap­pened. He wrote:

Pet bless­ings are not restrict­ed to St Fran­cis Day. You can bring him any time I am there and I will give him a blessing.We had a good crowd of pets yes­ter­day. The chil­dren absolute­ly love it.

Bless­ings,

Father Michael

So on Octo­ber 5, I expe­ri­enced a ‘dri­ve thru’ bless­ing. I was able to get Beck­et into the car eas­i­ly from the height of the curb in front of my house .….a lit­tle mir­a­cle. Father Michael was wait­ing for me as I drove into the St Vin­cent park­ing lot. He told me “Don’t wor­ry about get­ting Beck­et out of the car. Just roll the win­dow down and I’ll sprin­kle him”.Father Michael addressed Beck­et by name and Beck­et turned to look at him atten­tive­ly. We chat­ted after­ward. Father Michael said, a lit­tle wist­ful­ly “he seems like such a nice dog.…is he a good dog?” ” Yes, he cer­tain­ly is” I said. And again I thought of how Father Michael would have loved to have a dog. Father was so hap­py doing this- just as he looks in the pic­tures. With­out a doubt,it was a delight to him .Father Michael then said “Well, I’m glad I got to bless him. You’ll see, he’ll feel bet­ter now.” He knew that Beck­et had been strug­gling at times with arthri­tis and dog­gy old age ail­ments. Beck­et did seem much more ener­getic for some time after­ward ! Beck­et died in his sleep in July 2013.

Bit­ter­sweet mem­o­ries today.…but I’m so grate­ful I have them!