These Holy Men of Mystery

fm-sr vowsI couldn’t let September get away without a post-so here it is at last. I know you all have been waiting with bated breath. (HaHa) It’s been a busy month for me and I think they will be that way for a while -from now on.

Pope Francis has just left the United States. I think I am fed up with priests, bishops and cardinals -and their cell phones. For me it was just so bizarre to see participating priests, even concelebrants, in Papal Masses, just shooting away. Other observers seem to feel it was charming sight – imperfect, but understandably human . I disagree, but I’ll leave it at that.

As usual, I don’t know what to say about Pope Francis. To me, he is a palpably good man and straightforward in many, many ways. I liked him so much at first- and still do. I even remember writing to Father Michael after Francis had been pope a few weeks. I ended my short note with “Father Michael, Pope Francis is like YOU !!! ”  Certainly the open, loving, visible attitude toward all people was something they both shared. I know they both had that gift of being able to express and show delight in each person. You know they see the Image of God in all.

I wish I knew what else they might have had in common. Each one, in his own way, is still a mystery to me. It is amazing how one can feel the presence of God and His love in a person like Pope Francis or a Father Michael.  There’s no denying something special is there-but you just know there is a ‘rest of the story’. I think for most people, none of that matters. For them it is  more than enough that these gifts of God exist. But to others, like me, the ‘rest of the story’ is what truly matters: the whole truth.  I want to understand how these special people became that way. It is not enough for me to just accept “through God’s grace, a mystery”. I want to have the privilege of understanding as much as I can of that mystery.

I suspect that we will see more and more details as to what makes up Pope Francis. He is certainly real  right now . But  upcoming church events will surely reveal more of him as time goes by.

Father Michael is a different story. I can’t ask him questions any more- or better said- I can’t expect any answers if I choose to bother him in his heavenly home.  But he had so many loving friends with whom he shared his rich fulfilling life. More of Father Michael’s story is certainly out there.

I’ll end this with a ‘vignette’ from a short dream I happened to remember. I usually don’t remember dreams at all.Even with this one-I don’t know if there was anything more to it. This is what I recall:

I was in a large room, with many people around me. Across the room I saw another group of people , milling about lengths of tables. Nothing was distinctive; everything and everyone everywhere was BEIGE. I wondered where I was and it came to me that it was like U.S. customs at the airport. Now, I’ve only been through a few times;and I’m not well-traveled at all. And it’s been 40 years since I’ve traveled out of the country. I’m sure that customs is not like this now. So in my dream I gazed away at the other group. Suddenly a colorful figure caught my attention, moving through the crowd,right up to the table. He was smiling right at me and looked so happy.  Yes, it was Father Michael . But he was different, very different-not dressed in his habit. He was wearing a black and jewel-colored getup. I could only see to his hip level-the table obstructed full view. The weirdest thing was that he was wearing a black beret. At least that’s what I thought at first, but then it seemed like the kind of hat that St Thomas More wore. I concluded that it was actually like academic attire worn for formal meetings at universities. I also saw that the flash of color, a bright burgundy, was like a triangular lapel or sash across his chest. Father Michael just continued to beam at me. I asked him “Why are you so far away?” No answer, just the continued smile and a little wave. That was it.

Adventures in Paradise?  Paying a visit to his alma mater?  My brain working overtime?  Gotta say, whatever it was, it was nice to see Father Michael.