Thank you Washington and Lincoln, Roosevelt and Kennedy, Reagan and Obama, and yes, Donald Trump! This President's Day comes when I needed the day off the most. Right now I am resting in my favorite chair, with the best dog I've ever had nestled up on my lap, the house is quiet, I'm all alone, I am at peace. So far today in my commitment to my new prayer regiment I have prayed with the Scriptures, prayed for the President, recited the Angelus twice and prayed my morning offering. I still anticipate my afternoon Rosary meditating on the Joyful Mysteries and my evening prayers.
This afternoon is a rare treat in the 2017 that is my reality. Wendy, my wonderful wife of now nearly 40 years, is off on a mini-adventure this afternoon with her mom. That itself is a mini-miracle. Her mom is spending day 42 living with us after her last medical drama and the on-going illnesses that she deals with these days. Wendy's goal is to try and get her mom independent enough to possibly return home to her tiny but comfortable apartment in the next month or so. She is very optimistic, and I guess I love her for that; frankly, I do not see this happening. I acknowledge the potential for being wrong, but even Wendy's mom probably does not realize just how much Wendy is doing for her. In Wendy's new world, being deemed permanently disabled for about 9 months now, having her mom here is probably therapeutic. I understand that, but I better than she notice the things that she is not doing while she attends to her mom. It's important to remember that I need Wendy to keep her health up as she too deals with several illnesses that she is charged with controlling. She does ok but sometimes ignores her own well being doing for others, especially her mom.
When 2017 dawned me and my fellow employees were facing all the uncertainties surrounding the fate of my bank. I have worked for FNBC Bank these past four years and it has been the best place to be, especially after surviving the toxic reality of my previous bank. Sadly, after four glorious years, my bank faced some difficult choices and had to sell some of it's assets and portfolio; that sale included my branch. Another well known bank stepped forward and purchased my branch and soon we will be part of the Hancock/Whitney Bank family. Officially, my branch will be known as the Whitney Bank of Pearl River. Needless to say this has been both a challenge as it was totally unexpected before the December 30th announcement. Then in the past week I found myself in the ER with a heart rhythm issue, SVT to be exact. After a procedure to stop then restart my heart, all was corrected, but the condition still exists. New medicine helps but the side effect seems to be fatigue.
As I write this I can only reflect that just one short year ago everything was devoted to the wedding of the century which did indeed occur on April 30th. Thanks be to God that both Wendy and I had the needed health and energy then to see it through. And prayerfully, we anticipate that reality again.
I also thank God that I have slowed down little in my ministries as a Permanent Deacon although I have stopped doing some things and actually did miss a mass assignment last Sunday. My diaconate gives me great hope, joy and immense peace. Because of changing priorities over time I have greatly slowed down my previous assistance to certain formation activities and homiletic classes. I do remain an active member of the diaconate's vision committee. I still cherish my primary ministry assignment, the pastoral care of the Catholic community at Rayburn Correctional Center. I have limited my actual visits to two or three times a month since the addition of much help to my pastoral care team. At the parish I still facilitate our Bible Study for adults, this year in the Gospel of Matthew, next year the Acts of the Apostles. I also serve in a small role on the RCIA team. I am privileged to assist every Sunday with our evening Mass and the recently added holy hour and Benediction! Currently I have had several Baptisms, including one yesterday, and am preparing a couple for a May wedding!!
Thank God for my ministry and today, I am really thanking God for this Monday afternoon. I think after composing this I will be ready for a nap!
2017 has indeed presented challenges but I know God intends good from these challenges and I further know that so many others are facing my daunting challenges than I do. I hope everyone finds the peace that I have on this glorious Monday afternoon!