Sunday, June 30, 2019
Just when you think or come to (almost) believe “no one cares,” God surprises us. I find myself going through this internal cycle probably multiple times throughout the course of a given week. And it’s probably been happening more now than ever before. It seems to always happen that when I find myself walking down the darker, more pessimistic road, an angel of God leads me to something greater and more hopeful.
I find myself to be unbelievably blessed to be a Catholic priest and to have the opportunities that I do to encounter the mystery of God in some of the finest human beings God ever put on this earth. I look back on this past week on Wednesday night when I made my way up to the north side of Chicago to visit Terry and Andrea. At the request made to our pastoral care ministry, I went as a priest to offer the anointing of the sick. Terry, who has been living with MS for most of his adult life, and his wife of 12 years Andrea have been faithful members of Old St. Pat’s for the past several years. Because Terry’s mobility has worsened, their participation in the Sunday experience has been limited to our Live Streaming of the 5:00 p.m. mass, which has become an incredible gift to many many people. I am so grateful we installed that tool a few years ago! It was a moment of Grace to sit with them this past Wednesday and to hear parts of their story related to their history, their professions, and their faith. While perhaps there was nothing necessarily profound said during our visit, I walked away totally amazed and grateful for the absolute dedication and fidelity this couple has for one another. The only words going through my head on the drive back home were “in sickness and health, for better or for worse” and seeing that mystery of Love being lived out right before my eyes in such a beautiful way. They care. Faith matters. It continues to make a difference in their lives.
The next day on Thursday I made my way back up to the north side to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field to see the Cubs (please don’t tell my southside friends!). I wish I could say that I went to really see the Cubs, but quite frankly that’s not true. The only reason this Sox fan went to Wrigley was to see my friend who is an MLB Umpire. Whenever he and his crew work a Chicago game (Cubs or Sox), he will often invite me to a game and to visit with them in their umpire locker room prior to the game. While I am a baseball fan and a sports enthusiast, what I find most interesting is that the conversation in the locker room is not always about sports or professional baseball. What I find intriguing every time I’ve gone to see my pal and his umpire colleagues is their craving for conversation about faith. Just when you think or (almost) believe that “no one cares,” God surprises us. That’s certainly true for this wonderful group of men. Faith matters. They care about the deeper things in life that go far beyond their profession as umpires calling balls and strikes. Life on the road, being away from family, isolation, and discovering God’s purpose and what really is sacred are just a few of the important issues that surround them.
There are a lot of things in this world that can bring us down and discourage us every day. Just look at any social media outlet or news feed to see the many challenges plaguing the world and the church. And while that can all be overwhelming, be mindful and aware of the many moments of Grace where the Mystery of God is so fully alive and so abundantly rich. These moments renew us and keep us Hopeful.
Have a great week and a Peaceful 4th of July.
Father Tom Hurley