This good and faithful priest has a wonderful gift for seeing the beauty of a soul in the everyday occurrences he has among the streets of his community, in the pews of his parish, on a fishing trip, or a pilgrimage to the other side of the world.
He told a story of a man that invited him to go fishing for Muskee. This type of fish is huge and thought of as a "fine catch" to local fishermen. Now, our beloved Father J. is an avid fishermen...but....well...hmmm...he just doesn't "catch" them all too often. For him, it's clearly more about the experience and about being out in nature with God than about "numbers" if you know what I mean. As Father and his friend were standing yards apart on the riverbank, he looked over to see some great activity in the water, a tug on his friend's line and then more activity. His friend shouted, "Here Father, take this!" and Father ran over to take up the line....minutes later, after tugging and reeling (or whatever it is that fishermen do) Father Jack was thrilled to be taking a 36 inch fine catch off the hook! The point of his story? He saw in this man, a "generous" soul. Instead of keeping the excitement of the catch to himself, he had given it to his guest. I listened, and I thought to myself, "Do I see the beauty of a soul in my everyday experiences with others like that?"
A second story involved a woman that Father had recently met and had invited to come to our Church on a Thursday to pray. (Our parish doors are open each Thursday from 8 to 8 with Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament). Sure enough, this past Thursday, as he was exiting his house, he noticed that woman coming out of the Church where she'd been praying for the past hour. He was pleased that she had come.
He was appreciative that she had driven all the way there, and given a whole hour of her busy day to keep company with Our Lord. To his surprise, the woman came up to him and said, "Thank you so much Father"...
"But what did I do?" he asked her. "You invited me", she said. In this woman, Father Jack told us, he saw a "loving" soul. She is the one who had made a selfless gesture...she had come...she had stayed....she had prayed...and yet....she thanked him.
And, finally, we were told of a young man met in the parking lot of our local convenience store. (Father is becoming well-known there as a sort of "Jesus of the streets"...he'll strike up a conversation...hand out some rosaries...and before you know it, he has a front porch full of strangers-become-friends as guests!) This particular "stranger" had a striking appearance...and, if books were to be judged by covers...many would steer clear of this one...he had a mo-hawk, tattoos, and lots of earrings in odd places! Father J. gave his usual jovial greeting and the young man returned it with a "hello". "What cha' up to?" asked Father. "Well, I need a little help" said the young man. "Oh? What sort of help?", Father inquired. The young man then proceeded to explain that he had come all the way to our town from Baltimore (a couple hours away) to help a friend, but was now in need of gas money to get right back home because he had somewhere very important to be the next day. Father was a little skeptical but decided to investigate a bit further because he didn't want to disregard this if there were a genuine need. The young man said that he was reporting for duty in the morning and would be shipped out to Afghanistan as a United States Marine! "Wow...really? Gee...thank you for your service" said a very surprised priest. "No problem, Sir" said the marine. A "courageous" soul is what Father had found here and he was glad he had taken the time to talk (and help) this young man.
Do you look for the beauty in the ordinary souls you meet along the way each day?
Is your soul the "spark plug" of your body, as it clearly was in these three people?
These stories really moved my heart and I will be more alert in the coming week and more able to see "Christ" acting in others.
Copyright 2010 Judy Dudich
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