Savoring My Advent …

winter_scene_30-1024x768Novem­ber is almost over. It’s been a very busy month for me-and my fam­i­ly. I’ve had some health issues that caught up with me –and just didn’t feel well for most of the month.

Novem­ber also rep­re­sent­ed a ‘recov­ery’ and adjust­ment peri­od for my fam­i­ly. My youngest son got mar­ried on Octo­ber 31st -and there was a lot of hoopla lead­ing up to that !!  The wed­ding took place in the bride’s Ortho­dox church. My pas­tor assured us that it is com­plete­ly ok for a Roman Catholic to get mar­ried in the Ortho­dox church as all their sacra­ments are valid . Our church respects this. But I have to say it was an adjust­ment to wit­ness it. I am so used to hear­ing vows spo­ken and par­tic­i­pat­ing in Eucharist at our Catholic wed­dings. The Ortho­dox  priest admin­is­ters the sacra­ment and the rite is very long. I did rec­og­nize some ele­ments that remind­ed me of Jew­ish wed­dings. All in all, it was quite beau­ti­ful, but a bit out of my com­fort zone!!

So often in this past month, espe­cial­ly while ill, I thought of Father Michael. Just lit­tle mem­o­ries here and there. I recalled how often Father Michael expressed his fear about his ill­ness. I looked back over his many texts that I have saved and found this:

The only hope is prayer. I have lots of fears as I face each new day of uncer­tain­ty. You are in my thoughts as well.”

I think see­ing Father Michael being that kind of human example-accepting,uncertain, fear­ful, yet still full of faith, still pray­ing- left a last­ing impres­sion on me. It inspired courage in me. While going through my sick­ness, I didn’t have to dig to be very strong. Think­ing of how Father Michael was gave me peace and I felt at one point that he was present,right beside me. God is so good.

I dealt with nurs­es, doc­tors, var­i­ous tech­ni­cians and have noth­ing but admi­ra­tion and grat­i­tude for them. One of the most touch­ing expe­ri­ences was meet­ing an R.N. who’d been in the mil­i­tary for the  four years pri­or to start­ing at his cur­rent hos­pi­tal. “I’ve worked in mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals all over the world”. He was so proud of his work and yet so hum­ble. He was so kind to me and very unas­sum­ing-as opposed to “pro­fes­sion­al”. Before I was to leave the hos­pi­tal, this nurse said good­bye to me and shak­ing my hand, said “It has been an hon­or tak­ing care of you”. I thanked him, but was oth­er­wise pret­ty speechless–and very moved.

Today I saw this quote and real­ized that young man embod­ied it:

Bring them the Gospel not by your words but by your exam­ple, not by pro­claim­ing it but by liv­ing it. Make the sal­va­tion of all peo­ple the one, sin­gle work of your life, until Jesus the Sav­ior, which is a name express­ing per­fect­ly [who Jesus is], like­wise express­es per­fect­ly what you are. But how can this be done? Be all things to all peo­ple with a sin­gle, clear desire in your heart: to give them Jesus.”
Blessed Charles de Fou­cauld (1858–1916)

Well, this is a very self-cen­tered post. I am grate­ful, though, that I had  Father Michael in my life to look back on and ulti­mate­ly help me in my jour­ney .