Dear Easter People,
May is almost history and summer begins in less than four weeks—Thank God! Usually around this time of year we tell ourselves (or loved ones) all the things we hope to do this summer—including spending more time with family, the need to slow down and pray more often.
I share with you this story, with much food for thought. Pray through this reflection and see how special a gift of life, faith, love, prayer, family and community can truly be despite our struggles, disappointments and sometimes not wanting to give it our best each day!
An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife, enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.
The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.
When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”
What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built—none too well.
So it is with us. We sometimes build our lives in a certain way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than our best. At important points, we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that, we would have done it differently. Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day we hammer a nail, place a board or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life we will ever build. Even if we live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.
The plaque on the wall says, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.” Who could say it more clearly? Our life today is the result of attitudes and choices in the past. Our life tomorrow will be the result of our attitudes and the choices we make today. May all our choices be rooted in God. May the Lord Jesus be the true carpenter in our life, and may we always “build up” others along the journey.
In peace and joy,
P.S. Please consider joining fellow parishioners as we embark on our second annual Day of Service on Saturday, June 15. This year we will help Mission of Our Lady of the Angels Parish and I will share a little history.
Ninety-five people—92 grammar school students and three teaching nuns, died in the fire that rampaged through the second floor of the north wing of the Our Lady of the Angels School near Hamlin and Chicago avenues, on December 1, 1958. I was five years old and remember vividly watching the horror on TV with my Mother.
Today the church is home to the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels, Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Father Bob Lombardo and a young religious community, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist Chicago. They are doing fantastic ministry!
It is easy to help friends or family when they are in need, but it takes a lot of God in your spirit to help someone that you don’t know or will ever meet. We hope that you find some time in your heart and spirit to participate in this wonderful event. Please consider joining fellow parishioners. Further details can be in found in this bulletin on page 10. You won’t regret it!
P.P.S. A Blessed Memorial Day weekend to all. May we remember in prayer all people who gave their life in the cause for freedom and justice.