Saturday, December 29, 2012

Maureen Dowd and Fr. Kevin O'Neil: Christmas message


Maureen Dowd's moving Christmas op-ed has stayed at #1 for days on the NYTimes most popular list.  Why?  Seems Fr. Kevin O'Neil's words of honesty and compassion are much needed these days.  Kudos to both of them for providing this fitting meditation for the end of 2012 - Peace, Fr. Rick
**************************
December 25, 2012

Why, God?

WASHINGTON
When my friend Robin was dying, she asked me if I knew a priest she could talk to who would not be, as she put it, “too judgmental.” I knew the perfect man, a friend of our family, a priest conjured up out of an old black-and-white movie, the type who seemed not to exist anymore in a Catholic Church roiled by scandal. Like Father Chuck O’Malley, the New York inner-city priest played by Bing Crosby, Father Kevin O’Neil sings like an angel and plays the piano; he’s handsome, kind and funny. Most important, he has a gift. He can lighten the darkness around the dying and those close to them. When he held my unconscious brother’s hand in the hospital, the doctors were amazed that Michael’s blood pressure would noticeably drop. The only problem was Father Kevin’s reluctance to minister to the dying. It tears at him too much. He did it, though, and he and Robin became quite close. Years later, he still keeps a picture of her in his office. As we’ve seen during this tear-soaked Christmas, death takes no holiday. I asked Father Kevin, who feels the subject so deeply, if he could offer a meditation. This is what he wrote:
How does one celebrate Christmas with the fresh memory of 20 children and 7 adults ruthlessly murdered in Newtown; with the searing image from Webster of firemen rushing to save lives ensnared in a burning house by a maniac who wrote that his favorite activity was “killing people”? How can we celebrate the love of a God become flesh when God doesn’t seem to do the loving thing? If we believe, as we do, that God is all-powerful and all-knowing, why doesn’t He use this knowledge and power for good in the face of the evils that touch our lives?
The killings on the cusp of Christmas in quiet, little East Coast towns stirred a 30-year-old memory from my first months as a priest in parish ministry in Boston. I was awakened during the night and called to Brigham and Women’s Hospital because a girl of 3 had died. The family was from Peru. My Spanish was passable at best. When I arrived, the little girl’s mother was holding her lifeless body and family members encircled her.
They looked to me as I entered. Truth be told, it was the last place I wanted to be. To parents who had just lost their child, I didn’t have any words, in English or Spanish, that wouldn’t seem cheap, empty. But I stayed. I prayed. I sat with them until after sunrise, sometimes in silence, sometimes speaking, to let them know that they were not alone in their suffering and grief. The question in their hearts then, as it is in so many hearts these days, is “Why?”
The truest answer is: I don’t know. I have theological training to help me to offer some way to account for the unexplainable. But the questions linger. I remember visiting a dear friend hours before her death and reminding her that death is not the end, that we believe in the Resurrection. I asked her, “Are you there yet?” She replied, “I go back and forth.” There was nothing I wanted more than to bring out a bag of proof and say, “See? You can be absolutely confident now.” But there is no absolute bag of proof. I just stayed with her. A life of faith is often lived “back and forth” by believers and those who minister to them.
Implicit here is the question of how we look to God to act and to enter our lives. For whatever reason, certainly foreign to most of us, God has chosen to enter the world today through others, through us. We have stories of miraculous interventions, lightning-bolt moments, but far more often the God of unconditional love comes to us in human form, just as God did over 2,000 years ago.
I believe differently now than 30 years ago. First, I do not expect to have all the answers, nor do I believe that people are really looking for them. Second, I don’t look for the hand of God to stop evil. I don’t expect comfort to come from afar. I really do believe that God enters the world through us. And even though I still have the “Why?” questions, they are not so much “Why, God?” questions. We are human and mortal. We will suffer and die. But how we are with one another in that suffering and dying makes all the difference as to whether God’s presence is felt or not and whether we are comforted or not.
One true thing is this: Faith is lived in family and community, and God is experienced in family and community. We need one another to be God’s presence. When my younger brother, Brian, died suddenly at 44 years old, I was asking “Why?” and I experienced family and friends as unconditional love in the flesh. They couldn’t explain why he died. Even if they could, it wouldn’t have brought him back. Yet the many ways that people reached out to me let me know that I was not alone. They really were the presence of God to me. They held me up to preach at Brian’s funeral. They consoled me as I tried to comfort others. Suffering isolates us. Loving presence brings us back, makes us belong.
A contemporary theologian has described mercy as “entering into the chaos of another.” Christmas is really a celebration of the mercy of God who entered the chaos of our world in the person of Jesus, mercy incarnate. I have never found it easy to be with people who suffer, to enter into the chaos of others. Yet, every time I have done so, it has been a gift to me, better than the wrapped and ribboned packages. I am pulled out of myself to be love’s presence to someone else, even as they are love’s presence to me.
I will never satisfactorily answer the question “Why?” because no matter what response I give, it will always fall short. What I do know is that an unconditionally loving presence soothes broken hearts, binds up wounds, and renews us in life. This is a gift that we can all give, particularly to the suffering. When this gift is given, God’s love is present and Christmas happens daily.

Labels: , , ,

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It actually was a enjoyment account it.
Look advanced to far added agreeable from you!
However, how could we keep in touch?

Have a look at my web-site ... this is awesome

Fri Feb 22, 01:59:00 AM 2013  
Blogger oakleyses said...

coach purses, louis vuitton handbags, kate spade outlet online, nike air max, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet store, oakley sunglasses, burberry outlet online, coach outlet store online, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton, louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, gucci handbags, oakley vault, longchamp handbags, polo ralph lauren, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, tiffany and co jewelry, jordan shoes, burberry outlet online, ray ban outlet, nike air max, coach outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, kate spade handbags, red bottom shoes, ray ban sunglasses, chanel handbags, christian louboutin shoes, nike free, tory burch outlet, christian louboutin outlet, nike shoes, prada handbags, tiffany jewelry, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet online, prada outlet, longchamp outlet online, michael kors outlet online

Wed Oct 22, 10:21:00 PM 2014  
Blogger oakleyses said...

north face pas cher, louis vuitton pas cher, nike roshe run, hollister, barbour, ralph lauren pas cher, converse pas cher, nike air max, vans pas cher, nike air force, abercrombie and fitch, nike trainers, louis vuitton uk, true religion outlet, mulberry, sac louis vuitton, ray ban pas cher, nike huarache, nike free pas cher, michael kors canada, hollister, timberland, longchamp pas cher, hermes pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, air max, nike blazer pas cher, longchamp, ray ban uk, lacoste pas cher, michael kors uk, chaussure louboutin, air max pas cher, nike free, sac michael kors, louis vuitton, burberry pas cher, ralph lauren, nike roshe, air jordan, true religion outlet, new balance pas cher, lululemon, oakley pas cher, guess pas cher, nike air max, scarpe hogan, tn pas cher, north face, true religion

Wed Oct 22, 10:22:00 PM 2014  
Blogger oakleyses said...

babyliss pro, p90x workout, valentino shoes, canada goose pas cher, rolex watches, canada goose outlet, abercrombie and fitch, mcm handbags, lululemon outlet, canada goose outlet, new balance outlet, soccer shoes, bottega veneta, wedding dresses, insanity workout, hollister, canada goose, jimmy choo shoes, ugg outlet, ugg boots, north face outlet, uggs outlet, ghd, asics shoes, marc jacobs outlet, giuseppe zanotti, ferragamo shoes, longchamp, reebok outlet, birkin bag, north face jackets, canada goose uk, celine handbags, vans outlet, nfl jerseys, uggs on sale, ugg, moncler, mont blanc pens, roshe run, canada goose outlet, moncler outlet, mac cosmetics, chi flat iron, herve leger, beats headphones, moncler, ugg soldes, soccer jerseys, instyler ionic styler

Wed Oct 22, 10:24:00 PM 2014  
Blogger oakleyses said...

longchamp outlet online, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet online, christian louboutin shoes, longchamp handbags, ray ban outlet, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, oakley vault, chanel handbags, nike air max, louboutin shoes, kate spade handbags, prada handbags, louis vuitton handbags, coach outlet store online, kate spade outlet online, christian louboutin outlet, longchamp outlet, nike free, gucci handbags, louis vuitton outlet online, polo ralph lauren, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co jewelry, michael kors outlet online, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, tiffany jewelry, burberry outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, coach outlet, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet online, prada outlet, coach purses, jordan shoes, nike shoes, tory burch outlet, nike air max, red bottom shoes, polo ralph lauren outlet, michael kors outlet store, coach outlet

Mon Oct 27, 10:50:00 PM 2014  
Blogger oakleyses said...

oakley pas cher, hollister, timberland, air max, nike roshe, true religion outlet, air max pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, ralph lauren pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, new balance pas cher, north face pas cher, chaussure louboutin, hollister, longchamp pas cher, hermes pas cher, nike roshe run, lululemon, barbour, nike air force, vans pas cher, air jordan, nike blazer pas cher, michael kors canada, nike air max, louis vuitton pas cher, ray ban pas cher, guess pas cher, nike free pas cher, louis vuitton uk, nike trainers, nike free, scarpe hogan, nike air max, true religion, longchamp, ray ban uk, north face, ralph lauren, sac louis vuitton, tn pas cher, converse pas cher, burberry pas cher, nike huarache, true religion outlet, louis vuitton, mulberry, sac michael kors, lacoste pas cher, michael kors uk

Mon Oct 27, 10:51:00 PM 2014  
Blogger oakleyses said...

insanity workout, mac cosmetics, vans outlet, ghd, moncler, moncler, wedding dresses, moncler outlet, abercrombie and fitch, jimmy choo shoes, north face outlet, instyler ionic styler, north face jackets, roshe run, canada goose pas cher, new balance outlet, uggs outlet, rolex watches, asics shoes, ugg outlet, soccer shoes, canada goose uk, herve leger, birkin bag, longchamp, canada goose, reebok shoes, canada goose outlet, valentino shoes, canada goose outlet, ferragamo shoes, nfl jerseys, uggs on sale, p90x workout, soccer jerseys, hollister, lululemon outlet, mcm handbags, ugg soldes, celine handbags, ugg boots, mont blanc pens, canada goose outlet, chi flat iron, bottega veneta, marc jacobs outlet, ugg, beats headphones, giuseppe zanotti, babyliss pro

Mon Oct 27, 10:54:00 PM 2014  
Blogger John said...

uggs boots on sale
coach outlet
nike free run
tod's shoes
mizuno running shoes
canada goose jackets
jordan shoes
abercrombie
nike roshe run
oakley sunglases cheap
louis vuitton
nike huarache
adidas superstars
gucci outlet
kevin durant shoes
cheap jerseys
basketball shoes
fake oakleys
polo outlet
ugg boots
football shoes
nike store uk
nike roshe run women
hollister uk
gucci
replica watches
new balance outlet
tods outlet
ugg boots clearance
fitflop uk
tory burch outlet
louis vuitton borse
hollister
michael kors handbags
retro jordans
2015921yuanyuan

Mon Sep 21, 02:07:00 AM 2015  
Blogger 风骚达哥 said...

20150923 junda.
Air Jordan 3 III Retro Free Shipping
ugg boots clearance
ugg australia
Jordan 8 Bugs Bunny
coach factory outlet
Real Louis Vuitton Bags
Coach Factory Handbags Outlet Store
true religion jeans
Coach Factory Outlet Online Sale
michael kors handbags
Discount Ray Ban Polarized Sunglasses
Wholesale Authentic Designer Handbags
Louis Vuitton Outlet USA
Coach Outlet Store Online Shop
Coach Outlet Store Online Handbags Clearance
louis vuitton
cheap jordan shoes
Official Coach Factory Outlet Online Sale
Louis Vuitton Handbags Discount Off
Coach Factory Outlet Private Sale
uggs australia
ugg boots
michael kors outlet
coach factory outlet online
Michael Kors Outlet Handbags Factory Price
Tom Shoes Outlet With Free Shipping
cheap toms shoes
abercrombie
Abercrombie and Fitch Outlet Sale
Louboutin Red Bottoms Shoes Outlet

Tue Sep 22, 08:48:00 PM 2015  
Blogger chenlina said...

chenlina20151202
jordan concords
ray ban sunglasses outlet
oakley sunglasses
cheap jordans
canada goose jackets
kate spade handbags
coach outlet store
cheap oakley sunglasses
uggs outlet
louis vuitton handbags
abercrombie kids
canada goose jackets
michael kors outlet
toms wedges
coach outlet store online
ugg boots
michaek kors outlet
hollister co
ray ban sunglasses
tiffany and co
kobe 9
coach factory outlet
michael kors outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
jordan retro
coach outlet
gucci outlet
cheap jordan shoes
marc jacobs handbags
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton outlet
lebron shoes
chanel bags
gucci outlet
ray ban sunglasses
ugg boots
chanel handbags
cheap ugg boots
oakley outlet
louis vuitton handbags
as

Wed Dec 02, 02:11:00 AM 2015  
Blogger chenlina said...

chenlina20151209
ugg boots
coach outlet
abercrombie kids
toms shoes
louis vuitton outlet online
michael kors outlet
gucci shoes
hollister co
coach factory outlet
michael kors outlet online
michael kors outlet online
canada goose jackets
uggs for men
coach factory outlet
canada goose outlet
air force 1
fake oakley sunglasses
timberland outlet
michael kors outlet
ugg outlet
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet
ed hardy clothing
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton
prada handbags
cheap uggs
ray ban sunglasses
michaek kors outlet
oakley sunglasses
hollister uk
ralph lauren outlet
ray ban sunglasses
nike air max
cheap ugg boots
true religion outlet
michael kors outlet online
polo ralph lauren outlet
uggs outlet
ray ban sunglasses outlet
as

Wed Dec 09, 12:27:00 AM 2015  
Blogger chenlina said...

chenlina2015131
coach outlet store online
michael kors outlet stores
adidas originals
tory burch outlet
michael kors outlet online
cheap air max
uggs boots
ray ban sunglasses
kobe 9
chanel bags
ugg boots for women
michael kors outlet
replica rolex watches
hollister outlet
ralph lauren outlet
michael kors outlet
coach factory outlet
michael kors outlet
jordan retro
p90x
louis vuitton outlet stores
louis vuitton handbags
swarovski outlet
nike free runs
lebron shoes
jordans for sale
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton handbags
cheap ugg boots
oakley sunglasses
christian louboutin shoes
cheap jerseys
hollister outlet
louis vuitton bags
jordan 11 concord
uggs outlet
michael kors handbags
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
canada goose jackets
as

Wed Dec 30, 08:34:00 PM 2015  
Blogger Xiaozhengm 520 said...


2016-4-29 xiaozhengm
polo ralph lauren
jordan concords
coach outlet
jordan retro 3
replica watches
ray ban sunglasses
coach outlet
tiffany jewelry
coach factory outlet
toms shoes
true religion
michael kors outlet
jordan 3
kate spade
louis vuitton outlet
mont blanc pens
louis vuitton outlet online
insanity workout
ralph lauren uk
louis vuitton handbags
tiffany outlet
fake watches
cheap nfl jerseys
michael kors outlet
adidas originals
louis vuitton handbags
jeremy scott shoes
air max 90
ray bans
rolex submariner
air jordan pas cher
michael kors outlet
longchamp bags
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton outlet
coach outlet online
jordans for sale
coach outlet
jordan 8s
coach factory outlet

Thu Apr 28, 09:21:00 PM 2016  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home