1. Missed Connections: The U.S. Navy and my work have afforded me the opportunity to travel frequently. Even with years of experience, occasionally I miss a connection. Although I am initially upset by the prospect of having to reschedule flights and miss appointments, almost always I encounter things I wouldn’t have even noticed if I had made the scheduled connection. It was that way once in Frankfurt, Germany. While waiting in the queue to book a new flight, I found myself standing directly behind Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. We exchanged greetings. He was a quite congenial man. It may have been a missed connection, but it was, nonetheless, a pleasant encounter by two strangers temporarily stranded in a foreign land.
Today, I missed a connection and I am unable to bring you Bulletin 2015-09-27. I will try again tomorrow. Meanwhile, let’s consider this time that we have had to meet each other during our mutual exile from St. Peter’s as a pleasant encounter by strangers temporarily stranded in a foreign land.
2. September 25, 1909: Today is another opportunity to say “Happy birthday, Mom!” As Mom requested we will celebrate with a Rob Roy, her drink of choice, and salute her and her Scottish heritage. The drink is distinguished from a Manhattan by substituting rye with scotch. This evening we find that we don’t have quite enough scotch so there will be just a bit of rye from Copper Fox. My Mom used to tell me about the fun she had when she lived in New York City, so the addition of rye will not be inappropriate.
My Mom was a convert, she, along with my Dad, ensured that I attended only Catholic schools and learn about my faith. When I was in the Navy and had fallen away from the Church, she encouraged me to pray the Rosary. She inspired my wife to convert. I’m convinced her prayers made the difference in our lives. So, if tonight I speak of scotch and rye, it is not for worldly or lowly reasons, it is because this is our way of saying: “We love you and miss you, Mom. Here’s to you!”
3. Stranded in a Foreign Land: This blog usually speaks to our particular situation at St. Peter Catholic Church. Tonight, however, I must confess that I am distressed and feel once more that I have missed a connection and am stranded in a foreign land. The visit of our Holy Father to America has raised the shrill cry of those who hate the Church. It has brought about commentary of every different type, both from without and within. Lately, even those who have been staunch defenders of Church and its teachings are having difficulty finding mutual agreement. Solid Catholics who used to support one another now seem to be diverging in their views about what is happening in the hierarchy of the Church. Quite frankly, my wife and I see confusion among the ranks – the level of trust has fallen.
What is happening to the Church in America is not at all unlike what has happened in our own dear parish. It is divisive and it is debilitating. We find it harder to function at the spiritual level because our emotions have come to dominate our thinking – that is confusion of the worst kind.
Perhaps it is time to draw back a bit and let the Holy Spirit take over. This evening as my wife and I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours, the words of Psalm 46 came to speak to us:
The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
The waters of a river give joy to God’s city,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within, it cannot be shaken;
God will help it at the dawning of the day.
Nations are in tumult, kingdoms are shaken:
he lifts his voice, the earth shrinks away.
Even with twelve years of Catholic education and many more years of reading and study, I tend to forget that it’s God Who is in charge. My opinions and ideas are of little matter. Likewise, so are the ideas and opinions of those in the media and even in the clergy. At our very best we only stand as disciples. We are not the Master. So in this time of tumult when kingdoms are shaken, perhaps we should seek refuge in the simple Truth, Christ Jesus, and call to mind the words of St. Paul to the Romans:
May God, the source of all patience and encouragement, enable you to live in perfect harmony with one another according to the spirit of Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and voice you may glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.