Thinking In Front of a Borrowed Computer

It is striking to me in these past years to read about old colleagues from my years in Rome. When I read of the challenges that they have been given in life I realize how little we really can prepare for our lives, how much we must accept with faith and courage, adhering to our primary love for God and holding on to the perspective that humanity is essentially good.

Some of the men to whom I am referring are Bishop Robert Finn, Bishop Tony Taylor, and Archbishop J. Peter Sartain. Then there are of course many others who are now priests or who are married men with families. I recall them all as young men with enthusiasm all of whom have had significant hurdles in life.

The priest at the local parish here in California this past Sunday preached a brief homily the Gospel reading of the two great commandments: Love God and love your neighbor. From what I know, he is beset with challenges too. One of his main points was that unless we really do fervently love God as our primary purpose in life, we will succumb to life’s difficulties, we will burn out and become embittered by the pain others can cause us. A simple enough point, but he said it in a way that struck home. How true it is. We need only look to Jesus and his ability to endure the cross to see this preeminently displayed for our imitation.

St. Maximillian Kolbe has been popping into my thoughts off and on these past weeks too. You remember, of course, that he was the priest who took a married man’s place in the death cell at a Nazi concentration camp. I wonder to what extent his actions were the result of an unplanned impulse, a spur of the moment thing, and whether he was left thinking, “What did I just do?” Perhaps martyrs die in that way, but I tend to think they prepare in advance for such self-giving, such confrontation with the fear of death out of love for God and neighbor.

Finally, our trip to California reinforces my belief that people are good in their core. Everyone I have met in this trip has been pleasant. Yesterday, I spoke with three young men, tattooed and wearing “caps at an angle” at the paddle board rental place at Lake Tahoe. They were friendly, polite and helpful. They were grinning (wouldn’t have you) when they saw me walk in and inquire about paddle board rental…. a white beard from Minnesota wanting to get on one of those boards. (If you don’t know what I am talking about,  paddle boards are a wide surf board that you stand or kneel on and paddle yourself around slowly. It is a test of your balance, and quite popular around here.) Meeting people like them is very good thing. Glad to have briefly known them. A diaconal blessing on all three of them.

I hope all of you have a good day. Let us pray for one another.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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