Blessed Seer

Spring is Here/ DuncansonWhen I returned to church, I came part­ly to find a priest with whom I could dis­cuss some spir­i­tu­al mat­ters. I took way too much time to do this.I liked all the priests serv­ing there, but just kept hesitating,(for months!) try­ing to decide among them.Previously I’d talked to priests only in con­fes­sion and in meet­ings to pre­pare for my mar­riage. And, I’d  grown up with priests in my fam­i­ly-but those were casu­al fam­i­ly relationships.In my mature adult life, I was just an ordi­nary parish­ioner who attend­ed Mass and said “Good morn­ing, Father” once-in-a-while. That was the extent of my com­mu­ni­ca­tion with priests. So to desire a real meet­ing to dis­cuss the spir­i­tu­al was a big step for me.

From the begin­ning at St Vin­cent Fer­rer, I was enthralled with Father Michael’s preach­ing. He was not a per­fect preach­er, as many would claim, but he was sure­ly excel­lent. I could tell, he always pre­pared. Some­times he strug­gled, some­times he inspired and some­times sure­ly was inspired. So nat­u­ral­ly, I thought about going to talk to him. I was sure he was a most holy per­son. Still, I held off, as I was put off by all his noisy social­iz­ing in the back of church after Mass. If ever a priest had ‘groupies’, Father Michael did!  I found it dif­fi­cult to rec­on­cile the holi­ness and rev­er­ence I sensed from the altar and pul­pit with the sil­ly, some­times unseem­ly per­son I’d see in the vestibule. I am prob­a­bly alone in my opin­ion, but that is how it felt to me.  So I was stuck between pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive about Father Michael- and I stayed on the fence for a long time.

One Sun­day after Mass, I was lit­er­al­ly  “stuck’ in the vestibule. Anoth­er priest had said Mass and there were sev­er­al well-known Domini­cans who were vis­it­ing. They were all in the vestibule, greet­ing peo­ple, many had small groups around them chat­ting. It was quite crowd­ed. And out­side, it was rain­ing. The peo­ple, involved in their vis­it­ing, or wait­ing for the rain to sub­side, were not mov­ing or even aware that oth­ers were try­ing to get by to the doors. So I was stuck behind sev­er­al peo­ple, aim­ing to get to one of the side doors. I didn’t feel like push­ing, so I just wait­ed and watched for an open­ing.

As I waited,the side door opened and in came Father Michael. He slid in and got his scapu­lar stuck in the door. He turned and fussed with the scapu­lar a bit, got it free. Father was all by him­self for a change. He had a seri­ous, placid expres­sion on his face as he stood there so qui­et­ly. I looked on and he nev­er looked my way nor at all the chat­ter­ing groups. Father Michael stood there look­ing so serene, then moved toward one of the inner stained-glass doors. He peered through the clear part, view­ing inside the church.

The fol­low­ing all hap­pened in just a mat­ter of sec­onds: I thought “My gosh, how odd to see Father Michael so qui­et, so dif­fer­ent- and instead all these oth­er Domini­cans loud­ly shoot­ing their mouths off !” And in my head I heard a ‘voice’ that I’ve always attrib­uted to my guardian angel, because it is so dis­tinc­tive from the mus­ings of my con­science. It said -as clear as a bell- “This is their Seer”. Of course I was sur­prised and thrilled. But in response, I thought ” Their seer ? That’s all I need, if I meet with this Father Michael-some­one who reads my mind!” And as soon as I thought that, I received the imme­di­ate under­stand­ing that no, Father Michael was not any kind of psy­chic. He was a Seer.…. of peo­ples’ hearts. And I knew at once that that was one of his most pro­found gifts.

Months lat­er, when I was final­ly meet­ing with Father Michael, we talked about my expe­ri­ence. I expect­ed that Father Michael would be polite, but dis­be­liev­ing and care­ful with what he said to me. Instead, he was so hap­py! He said to me “Some of my broth­ers will say to me, ‘Michael , how did you know that?’ How could you tell? And I tell them I have no idea”. I was so grat­i­fied that he accept­ed what I had expe­ri­enced. I told Father Michael that I now under­stood that he was a Seer of hearts.I stat­ed that I was able to see that clear­ly in how he lived his life and his great, great ten­der­ness for peo­ple. He thanked me sin­cere­ly for telling him.

As we came to the final days of Father Michael’s life, we had so many dis­agree­ments. I real­ly had to look hard for the per­son I had come to know. I apol­o­gized a lot, not always under­stand­ing what I had said that was hurt­ful. One time, I said “Father Michael, I am so sor­ry. What I said to you came from my heart –and not from a bad place in my heart.” And he said, look­ing at me kind­ly, “There couldn’t be a bad place in your heart”. That was the Seer talk­ing.…

But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Lit­tle Prince

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