In the late afternoon of the second week of November, we made a visit to a tiny community outside of General Cepeda, Mexico. We went to Oratorio Chico to pray with the people there in their small chapel. With the sun setting as I drove our twelve-passenger van down the long, violently bumpy dirt road to get there, I felt like I was looking out at the set of a dusty Spaghetti Western: shrubs and cactus peppered the landscape; patches of dry, sandy soil separated the vegetation; real tumbleweeds rolled across the road. Out here, the wind will blow around a piece of greenery, scattering its soil, until finally, without anything to hold it down, a careless gust flings the little plant spinning off into the desert.
Now that we are committed to Family Missions Company, we have spent the past few weeks working on purging possessions, preparing a garage sale, and preparing to sell the house. I have to be honest: sorting all the possessions for a family of 7 into take, store, sell, donate, and trash piles is nothing short of overwhelming. It isn’t so much the lifting and moving of boxes as much as letting go of the security and comforts of the stuff we keep. We keep a storage room full of hand me downs for the kids because then we know they will always have more than enough clothes. We keep a closet full of games because then we know we will never be bored (hypothetically speaking). We have a kitchen full of more pots and pans than we could use in one meal because we are sure to have the perfect tool to use with the recipe we are trying. You get the picture.
Ed lived a full and diverse life. Born on November 26, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, he graduated from high school at Mt. Berry Schools in Rome, GA in 1958. He served in the United States Army as a supply engineer in Heidelberg, Germany from 1958 to 1961 and as a medical corpsman in Baumholder, Germany from 1961 to 1962. Ed attended college at the University of Alabama in Gadsen, AL, Christopher College in Corpus Christi, TX, and Mt. Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, OR. In the ensuing years he held a wide variety of jobs in all over the United States, from Kentucky to Alaska. In the early 1980s, he became very interested in living a monastic life and soon became a Benedictine monk, living for over 20 years in a number of Benedictine communities, including Subiaco Abbey in Arkansas.
When I turn the faucet on, I expect water to come out. Today we turned the faucet on and nothing came out. When this happens I usually go into the backyard and switch a switch for the pump in the well to turn on. It takes about a half hour for our tank to fill up.
“’God’s love never ends.’ (1 Cor 13:8). He goes after us, looks for us in our caves and hiding places, wishes to come into contact with us. He wishes to show us who he is.” (DOCAT p. 20).
Many times, the Lord uses us, His children, to go after the ones who seem the most lost. At one time, I was the lost one, but His love found me! Shortly after, the Lord made it very clear that He wanted me to act as His flashlight in those caves and hiding places, chasing after the “Lost Sheep.”
“Let’s go wedding dress shopping!” A normal statement for a maid of honour to make to a bride-to-be. But this wasn’t a normal situation. Kristi* and Annie* were Americans, working as full-time Catholic missionaries in one part of Asia, and the conversation was happening in another. And the bride wanted a free wedding dress.
I recently started seeing a lot of posts from the Love What Matters movement on my Facebook feed. It’s touching.. stories, photos, and videos that highlight what’s really important in life, especially when there are so many negative things in the news and in our own lives that try to steal our focus and our joy.