All of Us Have Reason To Be Thankful
Father Gordon MacRae, an ordained Roman Catholic priest, ministers to the inmates of the state prison in New Hampshire. He will spend Thanksgiving Day 2010 as he has spent the last 16 Thanksgiving Days, in the prison with "Pornchai, and Donald, and Joseph, and Skooter-with-a-K", and the other inmates of that institution, where he is a blessing to them, and in no small measure they to him, as well. Father Gordon does not have the privilege of entering the prison to minister, and then repairing to his comfortable home elsewhere, as he has been in that prison every single minute, of every single day, of every single year for the last 16 years or so. Not only was he falsely accused and convicted of molesting youngsters, in what to the most jaded of observers of the facts can be seen to be contrived, and horribly wrong, but he has been abandoned by his Bishop, his fellow priests, and by the Catholic Church, embodied in its members, who have consigned him to an earthly purgatory.
Father Gordon has always claimed his innocence and there are no shortage of those who believe in him, but to date there has been no justice for him. Or has there? Is justice just what we see in this world, or is there divine justice that we cannot see. Father Gordon would tell you that God is just, and that God is merciful, and that no matter what happens on a day to day basis to him in the "hoosegow", the trials that he is enduring are all joy.
Some time ago, I wrote a piece about the verse from Ephesians that talks about considering trials to be joy, but for some reason never got around to completing it and posting it until today here. In it I spoke about the challenges that my dear friend Deacon George Sebok encountered along the way to being called to be a Roman Catholic Deacon, and a lover of Our Lord and Saviour. I dare say that Father Gordon is a man like George, one who sees the beauty in the trials he encounters, and the grace abounding.
We in Canada, who live near the US or who live part of the year in the US are aware of a second opportunity we have each year to officially give thanks for our blessings. We had our Thanksgiving day in early October, but now we can join our sisters and brothers in America as they give thanks for their blessings, and we can in turn give thanks once more for ours. Once again, Father Gordon has eloquently shown us that all of us have things for which we can show gratitude, no matter what turns our lives take.
If you read down to the comments to his posting, you will see how his faith inspires others, from the comment from Pornchai Moontri, his fellow inmate who has been inspired to join the Church by his witness, and who was able to arrange for his own words to be posted, to the others who have felt the Spirit move them to visit These Stone Walls, or who regularly follow the goings on here, and take the time to comment.
Let Father Gordon's unfailing faith be an inspiration to you and to yours, and then give thanks that godly men take up the vocation to be Roman Catholic priests, and remain faithful to that vocation in even dire circumstances and persecution.
Then pray that God would release Father Gordon from the chains of false imprisonment.
And above all, Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart.