Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: June 3, 2019

He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Matthew’s gospel brings us a new lesson. Well, at least he did for me – even after all these years as a priest.

I had a wedding the other day that once again I was honored to officiate, and it included a reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans. I have heard it many times, but the reader chose a different version, The New International Version, and my ears heard it anew. I share with its title, Love in Action!

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Wow. After all that we have endured in the transitioning of the school; from false rumors of closure to insults from former staff to parents more petty than one could ever have imagined after all we have given to them, I needed hear those words, especially ‘do not repay evil for evil.’

After reflecting on Paul’s words, I challenged myself to remain calm in our focus and the exciting things to come. I reminisced on how sacred we were to even begin a parish and look at us today! Then, out of the blue, my cousin shared words with me that inspired me to reflect even more deeply on those from Romans, but more practically! Just what I needed.

St. Francis once said, “because I am small in stature and dark, and because I am to be simple like a dove and fly heavenward on wings of virtue. The Lord, in his mercy, has given and will give me more children, which I could never care for by myself. I need, therefore, to surrender them to Mother Church, who will protect them and gather them under the shade of her wings.” And so He has, to all of us.

I leave you with those more practical words from an old farmer, shared by my cousin and stolen from Stacy Parrish Whiteside. I pray they will inspire all of us to move ahead in love and peace of mission.

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.


Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.

Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.

Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.

Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.

If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.

Most times, it just gets down to common sense.  

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