Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Embarking on a Journey

Being thick in the head is a common Irish trait, so I understand.  It is one that I share then with my ancestors. One of my thickest Irish ancestors was my grandfather Anthony Sweet, who died when I was in my 20s, so over 40 years ago.  I loved my grandfather, and this morning I thought of him and that I was named after him, and inherited his stubbornness, because I read the blog post of Father Gordon MacRae, a priest falsely imprisoned for over 20 years now in New Hampshire for sexual abuse that never occurred.

Father MacRae writes often about things that make me wonder which one of us in actually in a prison, him behind physical Stone Walls, or me, in the prison of my own mind, and sinfulness.

Today, Father MacRae caught me off guard again, by expressing an example of his own sin, which mirrors mine in many aspects of my life.  He wrote of a man named Anthony (which brings me to my grandfather and myself) and how he had responded in unpriestlike fashion to Anthony's anger, and stubbornness.

It made me wonder how often I have brought out reactions such as Father Gordon's from people that I have been belligerent with over politics, religion, sports, or whatever.  I am not, of course, trying to remove the responsibility from Father MacRae for his own actions, but having lived most of my life (well all of my life actually) as a stubborn curmudgeon (even before I was old enough to know the word or be able to spell it), I can see how his reactions might be justified, if not Christian.

I was raised by parents who valued education, rational thought, debate and discussion.  We were taught to think.  It was said about my mother, as it has been said about many that she was not always right, but was seldom in doubt.  Since she was the daughter of Anthony Sweet, she passed this on to her son successfully, though I also inherited color blindness from Grampa, and left handedness, two interesting though generally less painful (at least to friends relatives and others) traits.

I had an occasion the other day where people I was with expressed political views that did not conform with mine.  In other words, they were wrong.  I chose not to engage in a discussion (likely to become heated) but just to listen.  I actually learned something, and think I might do it again, and hopefully again after that.  That exchange actually prepared me for Father MacRae's article this morning.

Recently, I began a self guided 33 day retreat called "33 Days to Morning Glory", which I first heard about from Father Gordon, and then from another friend.  It is a retreat about consecration of oneself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and therefrom to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

As I am getting into this retreat, I am finding that Our Blessed Mother Mary has many gifts in store for us, if we will just learn to trust her, and in turn Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit.  She has a special place in their hearts, and should have in ours as well, since she is the Woman Clothed with the Sun from the Bible.

Father MacRae's article this morning inspired me to continue the retreat that I had every intention of completing anyway, but opened my eyes to some nuances and some of the beauty of God's plan for my life, and for my part in His plan for the life of my loved ones.

It is my fervent hope that I will learn to follow the words of the Universal Prayer from Pope Clement XI, the opening of which is reproduced below:
Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.
I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
I urge you to pray for Father MacRae, as he inspires us by his faithfulness, and I also urge you, if you believe it is God's will for you to contribute to his defense fund.

1 comment:

Charlene said...

Thank you for such an honest and heartfelt blog about Father Gordon MacRae, a priest thrown away by his diocese and fellow priests.The man most instrumental in seeing him behind These Stone Walls is Monsignor Edward Arsenault, who was released from the NH State Prison one month to the day that he entered it. This convicted felon who lied, cheated and stole money from the Diocese of Manchester, from the estate of a dead priest, and who carried on a lavish love affair with another man, is now a free man. And Father Gordon MacRae remains in prison, an innocent man, convicted and sentenced to life in prison (33 - 67 years) for crimes that never happened. Amazing!