Handcuffing God and Gagging Mom? Good luck!


The more that I think about it, the more convinced I become that my mother and God were Jeannie, Amanda, Aunt Nette, & Grandmavery close to each other.  Of course, she’s been deceased for over a decade.  How close they are is no longer a question.  She was a very good woman, though we did not always think so when she put her foot down.  In any case, let’s get back to what Mom and God had in common.  One can’t handcuff either of them and they both insist on having the last word.

A few years ago, I met a young man on Catholic Answers Forum (CAF).  He was a revert to the faith.  Like many reverts and converts his zeal was sometimes very harsh and gave little or no credit to the rest of us foolish mortals who remained with the Catholic Church from before Vatican II to the present moment.

Somewhere along the line, I let it drop that I am a Franciscan oFRANCIS AND LEPER 2f Life, wear a grey habit and work within and for the Archdiocese of Miami.  What I didn’t know was that my friend worthy also lived in the Miami area and was carefully weighing everything I ever wrote.  Even if I had known, it didn’t matter to me.  Unless he’s in a crisis pregnancy, terminally ill, immigrant poor, or a person living with a disability he’s not in the target population whom we serve.  There are many good laymen, priests, brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese who serve other populations.

In 2013, the Archdiocese of Miami held a synod.  I had the honor of being asked to serve on the one of the teams.  It was a wonderful experience for me.  When the first task of the synod was done, that phase was closed out with a special assembly and liturgy.  Some people from campus ministry invited my young friend to the closing ceremonies of the synod.

Somehow, in a crowd of over 1,000 people, he spotted Brother Christopher Thomas, put two and two together and figured out that Chris is a Franciscan Brother of Life.  He followed us

Br. Christopher Thomas, FFV

Br. Christopher Thomas, FFV

out of the hotel into the parking garage and shouted out, “Which one of you is JReducation?”  I think he was a little surprised when I raised my hand.  I don’t remember if he actually introduced himself other than say that he knew me from CAF.  To be honest, I only got a glimpse of him as he ran back into the building.

However, since God and my Mom won’t be handcuffed and they must have the last word, I would soon be speaking to this young man again, and again, and again.  I began to see the seeds of a vocation to the Franciscans of Life.  I kept inviting him to return and return he did; but hedragged his feet.  For a while I considered buying him a horse similar to that of St. Paul.  Everyone saw the Franciscan in him, except him. fall-off-horse

Finally, after several months of looking at us, hehas applied to and been accepted to begin postulancy with the Franciscans of Life as a consecrated celibate brother.  Let’s not all get up and cheer at the same time.  The road ahead is long.  It takes six years to become a clockperpetually professed Franciscan of Life.  You see, God does not operate on our schedule, won’t speak when we say so, and certainly is not under our control.

In my mind, it’s easy to understand God when I think about my mom.  When something needed to happen, she would make it happen.  You couldn’t handcuff the lady. And when you needed to get a message, she’d make sure you heard it.  There was no gagging her.  What you did with the gift was entirely up to you and so it is with God.  He will not be gagged or handcuffed.

However, you will never be forced to follow.  You will be invited.  The response is in your heart.

Published in: on October 29, 2014 at 1:01 AM  Leave a Comment  

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