It Was a Very Good Year
Here in sunny Arizona, I have lots of time to ponder my life, with a focus on Life in My Saviour Jesus Christ, but also on the wonderful marriage I share with My Dear Wife, and the many other blessings that come my way regularly, whether I happen to notice them or not.
So, as I lay on my bed the other morning, some thoughts came to me about the year that has recently passed into the record books. The Coles/Cliffs notes version can be summed up quite simply in the Don Moen song, God is Good at the bottom of this page.
Here are just a few things that come to mind about 2010.
In early 2010, on January 5, I had the opportunity to get together with an old friend, a wonderful priest by the name of Father Michael Prieur. I bumped into him at a gathering in our parish a few months before, and had cause to defend him here on my blog. On this particular day, I was going to see him to discuss the matters that had been contentious over the Internet, though knowing there were issues greater than I had any right to ask about or question, our time together became so much more. Father Prieur is a priest I have loved and admired for many years. I know him as faithful, prayerful and committed to working for his bishop, and for the good of our Church in all that he does.
We had a delightful time sharing how our lives had evolved since we had last met several years prior, and I became aware that we were not alone in the parlour where we met, but were in the presence of Jesus as well. I wrote about it at the time.
As I met with Father Prieur on January 5, and the spiritual high and revelation of the profound nature of our meeting welled up in me and burst forth on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany in the Church calendar, it was for me another one of those epiphany moments that have happened to me on that particular Feast Day from time to time.
As I have stated on this blog many times, I have a great and growing affinity for our ordained priests, and Father Prieur is at or near the top of my list of those I hold in highest regard.
My Dear Wife and I then left for Arizona and spent most of 2 months enjoying the sunshine and beauty of that state. I enjoy particularly spending time with her when we do not have to share it with others, and once more cannot wait for her to join me here; soon I hope.
While we were here, I went to daily mass at Our Lady of Fatima parish nearby, but also travelled up to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish on the north side of town, where Father Clement Agamba, formerly the Associate at OLF is now situated. One particular morning, after I had had a fight with My Dear Wife, which happens seldom, I went to mass there and met Father Clement for confession after mass.
When we returned to Canada, it was Lent, and I was invited by my prayer partners, Wayne Zimmer, Deacon George Sebok, and Dennis Rivest to join them for morning prayer. We met almost every weekday morning at 6 am for the remainder of the year, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, sharing what was going on in our lives, and praying for needs that we were aware of. We sat in front of the tabernacle in the small chapel at St. George Parish in London, and were blessed many times during our prayers.
Although it was Lent in March, we had a family gathering to celebrate my 60th birthday. It was a treat to spend time with my family on that day.
My Dear Wife and I were to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this past summer, and one thing was missing. We had been married 10 years earlier in Newfoundland. We had basically eloped, and had not been married by a Catholic priest. It was something we regretted and wanted to correct, but these last several years have been very difficult health wise for both of us, and so time had passed with no resolution. We agreed that the most important thing we could do for our 10th anniversary would be to correct the error, and be joined sacramentally and properly within the Church.
We met with our pastor, Father John Pirt, and in front of family and friends ministered the sacrament to each other, just prior to our anniversary. One particular blessing for us on that day was that Father Tim Moyle of Where the Rubber Hits the Road, said mass for us that afternoon at his cottage, and the blessing from that traveled over time and space and was gratefully received by us.
In mid September MDW and I set out on a journey to see Arizona in the fall, as well as some other sights along the way. We were able to get together with her son Cameron in Topeka Kansas, where he was working at the time, and enjoyed dinner with him there. We saw some of the beauty of Colorado, and northern Arizona particularly, and made our way back to our stomping grounds here in Tucson, with the purpose of purchasing a park model trailer for our winter use, since the motor home seemed to be shrinking on us, and felt very cramped.
Herself had to return home to London shortly after we arrived in Tucson, but not before we had found the park model we wanted. I was forced to stay here in Arizona for a few weeks without her, while she attended to some matters at home. Forced, I tell you, to soak up the sunshine and glorious weather here at the time.
I had discovered the Catholic Channel on XM Radio, which the new car we had purchased prior to our trip had come equipped with. I particularly enjoyed it on my drive back to Canada, and then had it in the house for a time as well. The highlight of listening to XM in 2010 was the Drain Me of Me prayer that the host of Seize the Day on the Catholic Channel, Gus Lloyd, received and shared with listeners in November. That has become a staple of my daily prayers and also became one for our morning gatherings for Liturgy of the Hours, after I returned. You can see it over on the left of this blog, and I wrote about it here.
The year drew to a close with enjoyable Christmas celebrations with our family and extended family over 3 days.
Then I headed for Arizona on my own, as MDW had to remain behind for a sudden doctor's appointment, scheduled for later this week, and we had a transaction to complete on the park model we had purchased. I arrived on December 29, took possession of the park model late on the 30th, and woke up on the last day of the year with the intention of going up to SEAS to attend mass at 7 am.
As I looked up from my prayers when mass was beginning, I saw Father Clement enter from the side entrance to the altar to say the mass. As there are several priests who share the masses at SEAS, I had no expectation that he would be the celebrant.
Father Clement says mass with a wonderful reverence for the Eucharist, the real presence of Our Saviour, and I was caught up in the wonder of it all. As I approached him for communion, he gently placed the host in my hand. At that instant, as I gazed at Jesus present in my hand, I wanted to clutch Him to my breast, as tears started to form in the corners of my eyes. But, I received the host and swallowed it, knowing that the unknowable had just happened, that He, His Body and Blood, in the form of bread, had entered my body.
After mass, I stayed to pray for a few minutes, and then got up to leave as my phone was suddenly vibrating in my pocket. I missed the call, (though I returned it minutes later), which was from herself, but by leaving the church at that moment, I was greeted near the entrance by Father Clement with his beautiful smile of Easter joy. Father Clement, being from Ghana, is very darkly complected, so when he smiles, the whites of his eyes, and his teeth contrast with the ebony of his skin, and his face lights up. We hugged, chatted for a few minutes, and then both of us had to go on our way.
I ended the year more in love with My Saviour than I could have imagined, and more desirous of receiving Him in the Eucharist than ever before. I ended the year more in love with My Dear Wife than ever before, and I cannot wait to see her. I ended the year more in love with our devoted Catholic priests, not only the ones I know, but the many, many others who faithfully serve Our Lord in the courage of their vocation. Finally, I ended the year more in love with the fine men who have been my prayer partners during this past year, and those who will join me in prayer in 2011, and with all those I encountered last year, particularly our family and friends.
It was a very good year.
And 2011 looks even better.
May God Bless All who pass by here.