Merry Christmas. 2015 Class of `67 Edition.
For the most part, it was a pretty drab year for me. Compared to the past several, there were no major events, little traveling, no pilgrimages. I was pretty much a homebody. I did enjoy watching the Activity Center of our church get remodeled but I was only an observer and it was something like watching the grass grow. But in watching, I was inspired to do a little woodworking. We have a little lounge area in the AC that could use some furniture. And so I decided to write my Christmas letter about that. You might recall that I did this for a living back in the day. Another one of our classmates, Sheldon Fry, was also a woodworker. I once visited with him in his shop in Mashpee, MA, on Cape Cod. Maybe some of you others do this as well.
When we cleared the land for our new school building, we cut down some big oak trees. We had them sawn into planks and they have been drying for a while and so I thought I might finally do something with them. Someone lent me a nice table saw and so I saw that -
and something else
- as the incentive I needed to get the project started. But let me tell you about the "something else".
In last year’s letter, I mentioned Carolyn, a (former) school mom of our parish. Well, she seems to have a special gift. She would be called a
. What that means, in her case, is that she has “allegedly” received messages from heaven for over 20 years. These have been published in 3 books and they can also be viewed on her website which is <heavenlygrace.org> She gets her message once a year now, in October, on her wedding anniversary. Many of her messages, it seems to me, were kind of generic. Nice thoughts, informative, encouraging, but nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing I hadn’t heard many times before. This year, however, I learned that Carolyn also offers private message to anybody who might be interested. And I was asked. Well, I have to admit that I was initially a little bit uptight about this proposal. “Now let me get this straight”, I asked. “You mean to tell me that the Blessed Mother, of Jesus, might have something to say to me, personally?” Well, that sounded kind of intimidating. Maybe she would be mad at me for not saying enough rosaries. But she was actually quite gracious and it was all very interesting. The Blessed Mother spoke directly to me, through Carolyn; eloquently, no script, no hidden headphones, no hesitations, or “you knows”, or “likes” and she alluded to some details that were indeed personal to me. She reminded me of my initial reluctance and resistance to the call to the priesthood. She mentioned that she too
was called to something special a long time ago and also experienced some resistance in her heart. After all, being the Mother of God was potentially a very a big job. But what I really found interesting was her allusion to my former life as a woodworker. She said that working with wood and human beings had some similarities.
Maybe next year I can show you the finished product productproduct.
Wood, she reminded me, came to me all rough and worn, twisted and weather-beaten, and often with a mind of its own, and it was always my task to straighten it out and make it into a thing of beauty. Hmmm. Neat analogy. I could relate to that. I would admit that in my career many projects turned out well and others, maybe not so well. And I guess there’s also a pretty
obvious parallel in my life as a priest.
But I believe that what I experienced that evening in October strengthened my faith. I accepted the analogy and can now apply it to my future efforts as a pastor. But, thanks Mom, and congrats on becoming a “cover girl”. (NatGeo, 2015)
Best Wishes and Blessings to all.