To Save A Life …

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

January 22, 2020

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Today, in Mercy, our first reading is stuff worthy of an action movie! Even today, in my seventh decade, I remember the first time I heard it as a spellbound child. Could young, virtually unarmed David really conquer a GIANT!

Goliath

Wrapped in the story, of course, is the spiritual nugget we are meant to take to our own heart:

…thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
All this multitude, too,
shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves.
                    For the battle is the LORD’s
       and he shall deliver you into our hands.


We have battles of every description all around us: military, political, economic, cultural, moral, and personal. Today’s Day of Prayer highlights one of those battles – the right to life for unborn children.

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court issued a 7–2 decision in favor of Roe that held that women in the United States have a fundamental right to choose whether or not to have abortions without excessive government restriction, and struck down Texas’s abortion ban as unconstitutional. (Wikipedia)

Since that fateful day, many people of faith, and certainly the Catholic Church, have fought this decision. It has been a contentious and divisive battle which has divided people into pro and anti-abortion factions.

From my perspective, one unfortunate dimension of the situation is an insufficient effort by Catholic bishops to provide wholistic definition, research, teaching, and support to Catholics on the moral imperative for the right to life in all its aspects.

Mk3_4_life

Episcopal support for right to life often degenerates into a single-issue approach which fails to instruct on other life issues such as war, death penalty, poverty, adequate health care, civil and women’s rights, and environmental justice.

At the same time, morality statements around these issues often fail to address legitimate concerns around birth control, maternity care, newborn nutritional programs, and other issues parents struggle with.

Probably what most infuriates me is the political hijacking of this single issue by those whose own moral and policy choices mock a comprehensive culture of life.

Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister said this in a 2004 interview:

“I do not believe that just because you are opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, a child educated, a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

Personally, I am deeply opposed to abortion. And I am just as deeply opposed to an inconsistent morality and a policy-making which isolates this issue to the point of stagnating ignorance and indifference on other critical life issues.

A phrase in today’s Gospel struck me as I prayed on these things. Perhaps it will strike you as well:

Jesus said to the Pharisees,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,

to save life rather than to destroy it?

Jesus acknowledges that finding moral perfection requires a balancing of goods, some of which are weightier than others. The Sabbath laws were designed to foster the spiritual life. But if their observance consigns this crippled man to hopelessness, have the laws met their goal?

If indeed a life is saved from abortion, society must continue to save that life by fostering a culture which supports it for ALL of its life..

Music: Hymn of Life – St. Teresa of Calcutta

Get By with a Little Help from…

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

January 2, 2020

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Today, in Mercy, we lay aside our holiday experiences and dress once again in our ordinary dailyness. It is time to begin again, in this new year, the faithful living of our lives.

Church_of_Gregory_of_Armenia_of_Saint_Basil's_Cathedral_1
 copyright: Photo: Wikipedia / Shakko

The Church encourages us with the celebration of two great friends, Basil and Gregory. These men are particularly venerated, with St. John Chrysostom, in the Eastern Churches, whose character they highly impacted. These tremendously influential ministers supported and inspired one another to do great things for God in a time when the faith was sorely tested.

To learn more about these great saints called the Three Hierarchs, click here.


The friendship and legacy of these iconic saints reminds us that we need one another’s support and example to stay strong in our own faith. In our first reading, John tells us the same thing.

We live in a world not unlike that of Basil, Gregory, and Chrysostom. Conflicting, and often deceitful, forces twist the faith to distort its original truth. In our world, these false perceptions are used as excuses for all kinds of evils: war, nationalism, prejudicial exclusion, and racial and economic domination.

But John the Evangelist says this in our first reading:

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.

Today’s Gospel shows us that even John the Baptist had to juggle thorny religious questions in order to stay focused on the core truth of Christ. The Baptist keeps this focus by his singular faith and humility:

… there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.

So today, inspired by these great saints, let us take up the call to be true humble followers of Jesus, making our faith evident by our choices for mercy, justice and love in a conflicted world.

Music: Hymn of the Cherubim- Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom 

Mary, Full of Grace

The Octave Day of Christmas

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

IMG_2003
Theotokos, a mosaic mural from the Gelati Monastery, Georgia, (1125-1130 AD)

January 1, 2020

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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate Mary, Mother of Jesus.

I begin my prayer today by asking a question posed by distinguished theologian, Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ:

What would be a theologically sound, spiritually empowering and ethically challenging theology of Mary, mother of Jesus the Christ, for the 21st century? This question has no simple answer, for the first-century Jewish woman Miriam of Nazareth, also held in faith to be Theotokos, the God-bearer, is arguably the most celebrated woman in the Christian tradition. One could almost drown surveying the ways different eras have honored her in painting, sculpture, icons, architecture, music and poetry; venerated her with titles, liturgies, prayers and feasts; and taught about her in spiritual writings, theology and official doctrine.

To see Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s excellent article, click here.


In my own prayer today, though, I am not reaching for a deeper theological understanding of Mary. I simply want to talk with her as my Mother, my older Sister, my Friend. I want to seek her guidance and her inspiration. I want to thank her for her continual willingness to bear Christ into the world, and into my life.

How significant it is that the Church begins the year inviting us all to Mary’s Light! Our first reading blesses us in a way that Mary might bless us:

The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!

Mary was all about giving us the LORD, not giving us herself. We see Mary best when we see her holding Christ toward us – the “God-bearer” or “Theotokos”.

IMG_2004
Theotokos Vladimirskaya icon, Vologda, Vladimirskaya Church, mid-end 16 century

This title, used especially in Eastern Christianity, originated in the 3rd century Syriac tradition. It affirms Mary as the Mother of Jesus, Who was both human and divine in nature.

Our reading from Galatians assures us that we too, by our Baptism, are the daughters and sons of God – thus becoming Mary’s own. She is our Mother too by the power of this sacrament.

Our Gospel reveals the spirituality of Mary who “pondered” all the mysterious workings of God deep in her heart. This Mary is my revered sister, guiding me as I meet the unfolding of God in my own life.

Today, let us pray with Mary, our Mother, our Sister, Bearer of God. Let us pray for the whole Church, the whole world – all of whom she tenderly loves.

Music: Two selections today.

A Peaceful Hymn to the Theotokos – Nuns of the Carmazani Monastery in Romania

Prayer of Pure Love – Leddy Hammock and Sue Riley

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 12, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, is a day of loving celebration.

First, we commemorate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

OL Guadalupe
Virgen de Guadalupe con las cuatro apariciones by Juan de Sáenz (Virgin of Guadalupe with the four apparitions by Juan de Saenz)

Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Catholic title of Mary associated with an apparition and a venerated image enshrined within the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.  Catholic tradition asserts that the Virgin Mary appeared to a native Mexican peasant Saint Juan Diego, asking that a Church be built at the site.

The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world. Over the Friday and Saturday of December 11 to 12, 2009, a record number of 6.1 million pilgrims visited the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City to commemorate the anniversary of the apparition.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered the Patroness of Mexico and the Continental Americas; she is also venerated by Native Americans, on the account of the devotion calling for the conversion of the Americas.
(Information from Wikipedia)


Not everyone is comfortable with the concept of religious apparitions. But whatever our personal feelings regarding them, there is no doubt that they have animated the faith of millions over the centuries. For me, their factual reality is less important than the devotion they inspire. If such devotions help us love God and our sisters and brothers, they are a source of blessing.

What images, devotions and understandings of Mary help you to exercise a more vigorous faith and generous charity?

Today is a good day to spend time with these inspirations.


 

Mercy word

The Sisters of Mercy celebrate a second blessing on this date.

On December 12, 1831, exactly 300 years after the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin in Mexico, three women – Catherine McAuley, Mary Ann Doyle and Elizabeth Harley – took vows to become the first Sisters of Mercy, beginning a religious community dedicated to serving those who are poor, sick and uneducated.

( Information from Mercy Education System of the Americas. See their website for excellent materials on celebrating these special days.)

Click here to go to Mercy Education System of the Americas


To view an inspiring summary of Catherine McAuley’s life, click below. (You’ll love the beautiful Irish accent)

Click here to learn about Catherine McAuley


Music: Buenos Dias, Paloma Blanca (Traditional Mexican song for Our Lady of Guadalupe) English lyrics below.

Good morning, White Dove,
today I come to greet you,
greeting your beauty
in your celestial kingdom!

You are mother of the Creator
that enchants my heart,
thanks I give you with love.
Good morning, white dove!

Beautiful girl, holy girl,
your sweet name praised,
because you are so blessed
that I come to greet you.

Resplendent like the dawn,
pure and sensitive and without stain,
what pleasure my soul receives.
Good morning, white dove!

 

Pride of Place

At our weekly Miraculous Medal Novena, the loudest and most impressive singer of the Novena song was Mamie Ounan. I used to hold on to my kindergarten beanie for fear Mamie’s contralto would blow it off! I wrote a little reflection about her a few years ago and thought you might enjoy it today.


Mamie

 

“Pride of Place”.  That’s what my Dad called it.  I asked him one Sunday when I was about six years old, “How come Mamie Ounan always sits all alone up in that front pew?” Mamie was an elegant old woman, a little like Madame Belvedere in the old movie, “Mrs. Miniver”.  Each Sunday, Mamie Ounan processed up the aisle to commandeer the entire front pew in our parish church.

Gold_Star_Banner_wikimedida_commons.svg_
Flag of a Gold Star Family who lost a member in service to the USA. Such a flag hung in my family home when I was child. It changed all of us!

““Pride of Place””, Dad said.  When I looked up at him clueless, he explained.  “Mamie’s been sitting there every Sunday for forty years. She sat there the Sunday after her husband died in a shop accident.  She sat there every Sunday through the Depression when she struggled to keep her corner grocery open. She sat there the day her son was killed at Pearl Harbor.   All the while, no homeless person ever went away hungry from Mamie’s back steps.  She earned that pew and the rest of us are proud for her to have it.”

““Pride of Place”” isn’t always something physical like a pew in church.  More often it’s a moral or spiritual position that’s granted to us by others after we pay certain dues.  These dues include trustworthiness, sacrifice, contribution and wisdom.

kids table

All of us experience at least some ““Pride of Place”” passages in our lives.  Remember when you moved up from the kids’ table at Thanksgiving dinner?  Remember being a sophomore on freshman day? Throughout our lives, we advance through grade levels, job levels, armed services levels, even golf and bridge levels.

But earning real ““Pride of Place”” is very different from making it to the top of the heap.  We receive the first from others who recognize and respect us.  We take the second from others who may begrudge it to us. Mamie was given “Pride of Place”. She didn’t take it.  Otherwise, someone else would have beaten her to that pew each Sunday.

“Pride of Place” doesn’t come automatically with power or position.  Not every parent, boss, teacher, pastor, elder or champion deserves it.  It has to be earned and kept as a trust.  Even in hard times, its owner has to honor it and use it for others.  Jimmy Carter has “Pride of Place”.  Richard Nixon never did. I have my own feelings about Mr. Trump. I’m sure you do too!

trump

We all have the potential for “Pride of Place” in our lives. We can discover that potential by looking at the things we have responsibility for.  We have kids, elders, employees, co-workers, customers and friends.  We have homes, neighborhoods and futures.  We can impact all these things for better or worse.

Do we dispense those responsibilities with love, courage and honesty?  Do we use the power we have for others, not over or against them?  Mamie Ounan, that little old lady in a tiny city neighborhood, had tremendous power.  She gave people hope and example by the way she endured, by the way she cared and by the way she lived.

If we haven’t begun to exercise that kind of responsible adult power in our lives, maybe it’s time to stand up from the kids’ table and walk toward our own “Pride of Place”.

Let Mary Be Mary

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(December 9th this year because the 8th fell on the Second Sunday of Advent)

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Today, in. Mercy, we celebrate one of the many feasts honoring Mary, Mother of Jesus.

Today’s feast can be confusing to people. It is sometimes mixed up with the Virgin Birth – the moment when Jesus was born. What we celebrate today, however, is the moment Mary was conceived by her parents, Anna and Joachim.

275px-Santi_gioacchino_e_anna

From a young age, I have had a tender devotion to Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception. Some of my local readers will be familiar with the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Established in 1915, the Shrine promotes this devotion through its well-known novena and other means.

medal

My Mom and Dad said that novena every day. Most Monday evenings, Mom and I would walk to our parish church where the community gathered to pray the novena together, celebrate Benediction, and sing the rousing hymn to Mary entitled, “O Mary, Conceived Without Sin”. ( I know some of my old friends are humming the tune right now🤗) When I received my First Communion, I was given my first Miraculous Medal which I treasured.

( A little reminiscence about that coming later today. Hope you enjoy it.)


These remembered devotions were the foundation on which the legacy of faith was planted in our young hearts. But as with any good foundation, a rich garden of understanding has grown from that early soil. Over the intervening years, many graced theologians have helped me grow in understanding of, and relationship with Mary.

One powerful impetus for this growth has come from Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, a Sister of St. Joseph and Professor Emerita at Fordham University. Her magnificent work Truly Our Sister opens with this sentence:

“ This book proposes that one fruitful approach to the theology of Mary, historically the mother of Jesus, called in faith the Theotokos or God-bearer, is to envision her as a concrete woman of our history who walked with the Spirit.”

Tanner Annunciation
Annunciation – Henry Ossawa Tanner

Reading Johnson and others has let me see Mary more fully, allowing Mary to move from an isolated perfectionism to a womanly humanity transformed by the Holy Spirit. Johnson says:

“ I am proposing that one fruitful way to work out a liberating feminist theology of Mary is to locate her in the communion of saints and there to remember her, dangerously and consolingly, as a woman with her own particular history among her contemporaries and before God. At first glance placing Mary in the company of the saints may seem strange to those accustomed to more traditional Catholic practice, even though the title ‘Saint Mary’ adorns many churches, schools, and other institutions. It may even seem a diminishment of the honor that is her due as the Theotokos, or bearer of God. But at root it grants her the greatest honor the Christian tradition acknowledges for a human being, namely, the core dignity of being created in the divine image and likeness and gifted, in community with others, with a graced relationship to the living God.”

Today, as we pray with our many images, devotions and understandings of Mary, may we open our hearts to be inspired by her singular witness to God’s desire to be among us.

Music: The Magnificat – Mary’s radical prayer for justice and mercy, sung here in Latin by the Daughters of Mary (English below)

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.
He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their seat s
and has exalted the humble and meek.
He has filled the hungry with good things.
And the rich he has sent empty away.
Remembering his mercy, he has helped his servant Israel
as he promised to our forefathers Abraham, and his posterity forever. 

Sweet Light in His Eyes

Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

Saturday, November 30, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, we stand at the edge of a new Liturgical Year. Yes, in “Church-think”, it is New Year’s Eve.

And it’s fitting to stand here beside Andrew, on his feast, remembering how one day Jesus invited him to launch out into a whole new world.

Mt4_10Andrew

Today teases us with something we cannot yet imagine. Tomorrow, it will be December – the last month of 2019. It will be Advent, the time to wait in silence for unfathomed miracles. What graces will these days hold for us as we prepare for Christmas?

Jesus teased Andrew and Peter too with the promise to be “fishers of men”. Wading knee-deep in the Galilean Sea, do you think they had any hint of what Jesus was talking about? I don’t. I think they simply caught the faith, hope and love in his eyes the way a match catches flame when it’s struck.

Let’s stand with Andrew today at the brink of Advent, on the edge of the long nights or days of December (depending on our hemisphere 😉)

Let’s trust the fire we find in Christ’s eyes as we pray through this Holy Season. Let’s be very intentional not to miss the point of these sacred days by losing them to the muddle of a commercialized, secularized “holiday season”.

St Andrew PRayer

 

An old devotion that I still love is the St. Andrew Novena. The prayer, prayed from November 30 until December 24th, is meant to remind us of the true meaning of these days leading to Christmas. Because my mother said it with me when I was a little girl, it carries both spiritual and emotional riches for me.

It is traditionally suggested that we say it fifteen times a day. I will confess that I only say it once a day, but I do that slowly, focusing on the sacred mystery held within the words.

 

I also have created my personal version without specific petitions. I think God knows what we need and provides for us. That Lavish Mercy is enough and everything.

My St. Andrew’s Prayer:

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment
at which the Son of God was born
of our dear Mother Mary
in a stable
at midnight
in Bethlehem
in the piercing cold.
At that hour, I ask you dear God,
to hear my prayer and grant my hope
that you fill our world again
with your Loving Presence.
Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.
Amen
.

Music: We Shall Behold Him – Ron Kenoly (Lyrics below)

I love this hymn, especially the line “the sweet light in his eyes shall enhance those awaiting”. Maybe that’s the light Andrew saw. May we see it too!

The sky shall unfold
Preparing His entrance
The stars shall applaud Him
With thunders of praise
The sweet light in His eyes shall enhance those awaiting
And we shall behold Him, then face to face.

O we shall behold Him, we shall behold Him
Face to face in all of His glory
O we shall behold Him, yes we shall behold Him
Face to face, our Savior and Lord.

The angel will sound, the shout of His coming
And the sleeping shall rise, from there slumbering place
And those remaining, shall be changed in a moment
And we shall behold him, then face to face.

We shall behold Him, o yes we shall behold Him
Face to face in all of His glory
We shall behold Him, face to face
Our Savior and Lord
We shall behold Him, our Savior and Lord
Savior and Lord!

Christ, the Crucified King

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

November 24, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. This feast was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI by his encyclical Quas Primas. The Pope was acutely aware of the secularization of society and culture. He wanted this feast and devotion to bring people a deep awareness that Christ is the center of all Creation.

The images, language and metaphors are ones that spoke to the people in the early 20th century. They may ring differently to us. Concepts of king”, “empire”, “dominion”, “subjection” tend to engender negative connotations for many of us.
(Unless, of course, we’re referring to the “King of Rock and Roll” – Elvis, of course. Or  for some younger among us, the “King of Pop” – Michael Jackson. Then we seem OK with it!)

Our readings today can direct us to a deeper understanding of the characteristics Pius sought to highlight, ones that may speak more clearly to us in our time.

Our first reading from Samuel presents the anointing of David as King of Israel. Anointed by those who were “his own bone and flesh”, David prefigured the Incarnate Christ who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, took our flesh to redeem us.


Col1_15 image

The magnificent passage from Colossians offers exultant praise to the Creator for 

…delivering us from the power of darkness
and transferring us to the kingdom of the beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption …


And our Gospel gives us our precious Jesus on the Cross, teaching us the paradoxical truth of what his “Kingdom” really means – not oppressive dominion, but rather a sacrificial love that gives everything for the life of the beloved.

van eyck
Van Eyck’s painting of Christ King and his follower Petrus Christus’s Christ Suffering (15th C.)

Many cannot recognize such “kingship”. They cannot see the holy power within Christ’s sacrifice. They are, as Pius XI recognized for his time, blinded by a secularized culture and a dispirited life.

Let us pray today with the “justly condemned”, but spiritually enlightened, man in our Gospel who asked his Crucified King,

“Lord Jesus,
remember me
when you come into Kingdom!”

Music: Jesus Remember Me

Christ, Our Cornerstone

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

November 9, 2019

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Today, in Mercy,  we celebrate a rare type of feast day – one that marks the dedication of a church building.  For many, that seems a little odd. We are accustomed to celebrating Mary, Joseph and other saints and feasts of Our Lord.

Here’s the thing: we are not actually celebrating a building.  We are celebrating what the building represents – the Body of Christ, the Church, made of living stones – us.

But sometimes it helps to have visible symbols of the things we venerate and celebrate. That’s why we have medals, rosary beads and candles – so that we can SEE something as we try to conceptualize a spiritual reality.

john lateran

St. John Lateran is the Pope’s parish church. Since he is the Bishop of the whole People of God, his physical church has come to symbolize the universal Body of Christ, the world Church.

Pope Benedict XVI in his Angelus Address, on November 9, 2008 said this:

Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates a mystery that is always relevant: God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23-24).
But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God.
Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we call upon the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that she help us to become, like her, the “house of God,” living temple of his love.

st j lateran

As we pray today, we might want to consider the gift of faith on which our own lives are built – a faith whose cornerstone is Jesus Christ. In our second reading, Paul says this:

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building…..
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

And in our Gospel, Jesus speaks of his own body as a temple which, though apparently destroyed by his enemies, will be raised up in three days.

By our Baptism, that same spiritual temple lives in us and in all the community of faith. That same power of Resurrection is alive in us! So in a very real sense, what we celebrate today is ourselves – the Living Church – raised up and visible as a sign of God’s Life in the world.

Happy Feast Day, Church!

Music: Cornerstone – Hillsong

Pray for Priests

Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop

November 4, 2019

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Romans11_33 depth of wisdom

Today, in Mercy, we remember the life of a good priest, Charles Borromeo who refused the perks of status and wealth in preference for the poor. Praying with him today, we may include all the good priests who have kindled our faith throughout the years.

I unexpectedly encountered one such priest yesterday after a hiatus of nearly forty years. He had come to McAuley Convent, our health and retirement facility, to visit his longtime assistant. She is now a stately 96 years old, but living with the compromises of advanced years. Himself in his late eighties, he walked very slowly down the corridor toward me, and I paused to see if I could help.

Greeting him, I recognized something about his eyes, but could not really place him. He paused, catching some labored breaths, and studied my eyes. “Give me a minute,” he said, quickly following it with “Nathaniel”, my old religious name.

He had the advantage over me, so I just honestly requested, “Help me out with your name.” He simply replied, “Maginnis”. As a wealth of memory and understanding opened in my mind, I smiled and said, “How good to see you again, Maginnis, after all these years.”

You see, this was: Robert Patrick Maginnis, an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1996 to 2010. (Wikipedia)

But who I saw, as soon as he said his name, was a humble, good man who had served God’s people with generosity and grace. I hadn’t seen him face to face since he was simply “Father”- when I was green with youth and he was just a shade or two deeper! 

But I knew, the way a local Church knows its shepherds, that he had never abandoned his gentle simplicity for the exalted trappings of episcopacy. He had remained a man who fulfilled Pope Francis’s best hopes for priests:

“Always have before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to seek and save what was lost…

Conscious of having been chosen among men and elected in their favor to attend to the things of God, exercise in gladness and sincere charity the priestly work of Christ, solely intent on pleasing God and not yourselves or human beings, other interests.”
(Pope Francis in a homily before the ordination of 16 priests during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica April 22, 2018)

And here “Maginnis” was last Saturday, having endured his own challenges with aging, making the effort necessary to visit his faithful friend. As I left them in the warm light by her window, my spirit was confirmed by a grace neither one of them realized they were continuing to give, so natural was their witness to Christian love and service.

Let’s pray for all our priests today. These troubled times have been so hard on good priests like this beloved bishop. May they be strengthened and confirmed in their desire to serve Christ through serving his People. May the aged among them realize how grateful we are for the gift they have given.

Music: Who Has Known – John Foley, SJ ( Lyrics below)

O the depth of the riches of God;
and the breadth of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

For who has known the mind of God?
To God be glory forever.

A virgin will carry a child and give birth,
and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

For who has known the mind of God?
To God be glory forever.

The people in darkness have seen a great light; f
or a child has been born; his dominion is wide.

For who has known the mind of God?
To God be glory forever.