Still Here After Eighty Two Years -Part One

Part One – Christmas Season 2010

Dear Family and Friends:

Still here after eighty two years; celebrating my birthday, Thanksgiving (I was born on Thanksgiving Day 11/27/28) and the Birth of Jesus Christ; an opportunity to give thanks to the Lord for his graces and his people.  It has been a joy to work with and serve both; an occasion to ponder our roots and ancestors and salute and give thanks for the family and friends (present and departed) with whom we have and continue to make life’s journey.  I also give thanks to God, my doctor and the wonderful professionals of the Archdiocese of Miami’s Catholic Health Services for restored health.  A few more patches which I try to wear with understanding and dignity.  There are still a lot of pleasant surprises that accompany the aging process.

Christ entered our world as an infant and left it seemingly to soon.  But he left it with the memory of the promise of childhood revealing to us the possibilities that lie hidden within the maturing adult.  The Christmas story opens up to us what life may mean if we believe that faith inspired hope expressed in love is a passion for the possible.  Living our beliefs, the possibilities become actualities on life’s journey, surprising us almost as much in retrospect as originally in their historical moment.  As we live our faith, our story of faith in Christ becomes His story – a history of God’s people.

History counts our years as timely achievements.  Theology considers them as timeless gifts of a benevolent creator.  Memory recalls these gifts usually as bestowed in encounters with graceful people – those, who in their own lives reveal something of that divine gift in all of us that we celebrate as Christmas.  Life, achievement, happiness and the sense we have of them is enhanced by so many encounters with God’s gifts incarnated in the lives and spirits of all those who help us to weave the whole cloth of a significant life.  The hand of others and the smile of the Lord are signed in the pattern of every human life.

In the eternal Now of God, we here on earth live lives between incarnation and resurrection – between our efforts to incarnate the Lord’s expression of what it is to be human and continually remind ourselves that he is with us on the way to eternal life.  It is a relationship we live out each day – a relationship that we enter “already”.  The “not yet” of life moves us to view our lives in the light of the Lord’s own resurrection and interpret our own lives in light of our own lesser but significant resurrections and that ultimate going to God.  As we live between the times of the “already” and the “not yet” we are aware that, despite our years and graces, we are not there yet.  So at this stage of life and this season of the year, we pray “thy kingdom come.”  Our Christian vision of the world leads to the expectation of “new heavens and a new earth”, increasing rather than lessening our sense of responsibility for the world or today: this “now”.  As citizens of the world, our task as “kingdom people” is to contribute with the message of the gospel to building a more human world in harmony with the Father-creator’s plans.