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 .

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