“Honey! I’m home.”


Divine PhysicianOK, so Brother Jay is back in the hospital, excuse me, it’s his timeshare. 🙂

He was rushed in by ambulance on Tuesday morning, not doing well at all.  Most of the day was spent in restlessness.  On Tuesday night, Brother Christopher Thomas visited and Brother Jay brightened up.  They had a great visit together with lots of comments and laughter.  In the meantime, the nurse was keeping a

Br. Christopher Thomas, FFV

Br. Christopher Thomas, FFV

close eye on things, which neither brother observed.

On Wednesday, the calls, text messages, and emails from the other brothers kept pouring in.  Wednesday evening Aspirant Raul Camarca visited Brother.  Every time Brother Jay heard

Br. Jay, FFV & Aspirant Raul, FFV

Br. Jay, FFV & Aspirant Raul, FFV

from one of his brothers, he smiled.  There was a warm feeling inside that is difficult to explain.  However, as I have always said, “If you experience peace and joy in a particular space, call out like Ricky Ricardo, ‘Honey! I’m home’.”  This space need not be an actual physical place.  It can also be a relationship.  Brotherhood is definitely a relationship that happens in many spaces.

Real brotherhood does not need explanations.  Remember the saying.  “Preach always, when necessary use words.”  Your relationship with your brothers should speak of the relationship within the Trinity, the relationship between Christ and his apostles, your relationship with Christ and with his people.

While Raul and Chris were visiting, nurses and therapists were entering and leaving the room.  But the charge nurse was the same for both nights.  She had observed Brother Jay every time he was in contact with a brother, personally or by way of technology.

As Raul was leaving, she could no longer hold back her question.  She asked the two brothers (Raul and Jay) “Are you guys always this happy when you’re together?”  To which they both answered, “Yes.”  Brother Jay quickly added, he’s my little brother.  Everyone chuckled as Raul and the nurse left.   But now follows the good part.

Brothers keep their superior company as he catches his breadth.

Brothers keep their superior company as he catches his breadth.

The nurse was watching.  No sooner had Raul turned the corner, she quickly snuck into Brother’s room and asked again.  “You guys seem to really enjoy each other’s company.  I noticed it last night too.  Is the other gentleman related to you?”  The other gentleman is Brother Chris.

“Yes, he’s another brother,” said Brother Jay.

“I hate to be nosy, but I noticed that you talked to some people on the telephone and received some texts while I’ve been in here and you light up.  The medicine must be working.”  How’s that for subtle?

Brother responded, “Well, I think that the medication is working, but the most important part of the therapy is not the chemical, but the human element.  You see those two chaps whom you’ve met?”

Nod.

“And the texts and telephone calls?”

Nod.

“Those are all my brothers.  There are seven of us.  We’re not biological brothers.  The bond is tighter than that.  We were not coincidently born into the same family.  God called us and we freely responded.  We belong to a very small family.”   He then went on to explain Franciscans to a curious person who is Protestant and who believed that Catholics never use the bible.  When she heard the Franciscan brotherhood is built upon revealed truth, starting with Sacred Scripture, she was in awe.

This led to questions about celibacy vs marriage.  Brother quickly dispelled this myth.

CelibaimagesCA84KBW0cy and marriage are not in competition.  They are ways of life.  The best way of life is the one where you find peace and joy.  Sometimes, we get so fixated on one way of life, usually marriage, that we never hear God’s proposal to a marriage between His Son and our soul. Very often, God will throw a monkey wrench into our plans to remind us that he has a plan of his own.  However, God does not impose, he proposes, like an insistent lover.  At the end of the day, we choose celibacy or marriage.

Brother then explained that the brothers come in two wrappers, married and celibate.  Brotherhood is not defined by the way you live out God’s invitation to holiness.

Brotherhood is defined by joy, a sense of belonging, mutual respect, tolerance for each other’s weaknesses and eccentricities, and intimacy (allowing the other brother to walk through the corridors of your heart).    If you find peace and joy in this experience then you have arrived where you belong right now.

We’re sharing this with you because Brother Chris made a prophetic statement.  When Brother Jay told him that he may have a longer visit to the hospital, Chris said “Maybe God wants you to do some hospital ministry.”  Every time Jay is in the hospital, something draws in some of the staff and questions begin.  Up to that point, nothing had happened. Chris was referring to these past experiences. In a few hours, this wonderful dialogue with the nurse took place.

It all began and ended with “being rather than doing”Being joyful brothers rather than busy brothers, is the greatest witness to the Gospel and the greatest sign that one has arrived home.

francis and leo

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