Good Friday Reflection - Walk in Her Sandals
Teaching the faith can be a challenge. The Confirmation retreat was nearly over, so we settled back in the main hall after a few hours in the church to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and spend time in Eucharistic Adoration. Though I’ve presented to teenagers for years, it never gets any easier. Corralling them for 8 hours, most against their own will, usually creates a less than friendly atmosphere. This particular group, despite my attempts to provide engaging activities and quick witted presentations, was very difficult to reach.
It was a huge relief to glance at the clock and realize there were fewer than two hours left. “You got this,” I murmured to myself, and grabbed the microphone to begin my last presentation. I barely completed the sign of the cross, when suddenly a young man dressed in a suit stood up.
“Excuse me,” I politely addressed him, “break is over and we are clearly about to pray. We are almost finished; we just have one more subject to cover.” What happened next, even as I type it, still astounds me. “Who,” he began, “do you expletive think you are. This has been complete bull-expletive you have been shoveling at us all day.” Perhaps he saw an opportunity to pounce, since the room had emptied of all adults except me. Before I could answer, he continued with more sentence enhancers and crazy accusations. He had clearly come with preconceived and very misguided notions of Catholicism. My presentations always focus on living the faith in our everyday life and I purposely steer clear of controversial subjects – because I am fully aware that Apologetics are my Achilles heel. This young man perhaps sensed that as well.
The part of my brain that was presently retrieving all of my training in youth ministry and facilitating retreats was screaming “halt, do not fall into this trap, cease all arguments now”! How I wish my brain had won. Instead .... read more
Other Good Friday Musings:
At some point in all of our lives, we will become just a memory. When our bodies have left this world, we will become “adjectives and images”, to those who we leave behind. A few weeks ago, a very special man, American Marcos, aka Marc, did just that, as his 90 year old body decided it had enough. Marc was my ‘step’ grandfather, and had been an important part of my family for over 30 years. While it is never easy to say good-bye, and to see the world as we know it change, we take solace in our faith, in our hope of Christ, and in the words and images left behind.
When I think of Marc, my mind is flooded with how I remember him, not just in relation to me, but to the many people who knew and loved him. Loving Father, wonderful provider. House builder, but only his own, of which he did with no prior knowledge of how to get that job done. Accomplished ice skater, nicknamed Topper because he was TOPS in his ability. Cranberry bog walker and observer. Puzzle maker and good friend. Golfer, and part golf course owner. A great collector of rouge golf balls. Loving grandfather, incredibly generous and a passionate storyteller. Avid fisherman and hunter – where most of his stories derived. Master to the most faithful, talented hunting dog, a beagle, that he took great pride in. Incredible friend and companion to my grandmother, who he stood by, caring for until her last breath. Honest, and truthful, sometimes to a fault (ha-ha), but it made the affirming things he said all that more touching because you knew, without a doubt, it what from his heart. I’d rather be known as a man of truth, than one of facades. He was, is… all of this and much more.
In contemplating Marc’s life, I couldn’t help but to think of my own, and those of the people around me. What adjectives and images will I become. What do I want people to remember about me, and how the history of my ancestors will recall the woman who was their grandmother, great grandmother, friend or foe? I cannot control how people perceive me; however, I pray that no matter their words, their thoughts are always drawn to Christ when they do think of me. How do you want to be remembered, what “adjectives or images” do you desire to follow you into eternity? As long as we have breath, we have an opportunity to influence our memories – not in a fake, contrived way, but in a true and honest way, as Marc did. I pray I am one that always speaks the truth, and of the Truth. Jesus says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all else will be given unto you.” What are we seeking? It is what we will find, and how we will be remembered.
I had been asked to give a short Eulogy at the gravesite, but for whatever reason God allowed it to be overlooked. I knew at that moment, it was part of His plan, and that this was to be written and shared, because it wasn’t just about Marc’s passing, but about us all. This wasn’t exactly what I had planned to say that morning, however the essence is there. It is this reflective piece – this reminder to look more deeply at ourselves, while we still have free will, and to contemplate where we are now, and where we want to be, that is the part I want to share with you. A life lived solely for ourselves, will leave no room it for other people, and those left to reminisce about you will be very few in numbers. It is also not enough to be simply a good person, but we must know we are broken and that we require a Savior – and that is not a form of weakness or mind-control, but a gift.
To conclude, as I would have that sunny Friday morning, I would ask you to pray for American Marcos. To pray for God’s mercy on his soul, and for the forgiveness of his sins, so that he may enjoy everlasting life with all the angels and the saints – and the love of his life, my grandmother, Hilda. To pray for all those whom you love, those have gone before you. So that, when our time comes, not only will we have a legion of friends and family there in heaven to welcome us, but that we’ve had a legion of friends and family praying for us as we prepared to join them there.