What better way to launch a blog than REMEMBERING 9/11...
...and to so dedicate this site, as if it were my very own
Memorial of the Heart, to preserving the MEMORY of GOODNESS
in my life (yes, amid all of its ills.) Some of these good-
thoughts are infinitesimally small, as even grains of sand,
though even they are capable of creating waves of greater
good if remembered. A tiny stump found in that rubble still
stands for every million Survivor who strolls by. When I was
studying to be a priest many years ago, my best professor of
all was Rabbi Leon Klenicki, who carved it into my soul, that
there is no word in our language more precious than Remember.
Memory restores, nurtures and expands the GOOD.
Strange to say, there is in me no greater memory of
GOODness than that day, 9/11. In a real sense, no BETTER day!
The goodness arose from US in such perfect contrast to those
passing hours of evil and the falling of the towers!! Easily
we recall even now every aching minute of that day. At 9:58
I stood on the porch of the hospital where I worked, 33 miles
up river - and watched the smoke rise!
But my own hour of hours came later in the day when I
attended what I call “the Greatest Liturgy” of my life. Having
been a priest, I've been part of many doozies of public prayer,
going back to my very first - at the Basilica of St. Joseph in
Montreal. Thousands stood before me in that incredible church,
as someone announced, “This boy was just ordained!” After Mass
I was lovingly mauled like some rockstar! Equally fantastic
were two times in which I stood aside the altar of Pope SAINT
John Paul II, once at Yankee Stadium, the other at St. Peter’s
in Rome. And yet nothing can compare to that September 11, as
I returned home from working and crying, scooped up my little
family and took them to our favorite getaway of Steak & Stein,
just to unwind.
My little boy of 5, Van, was cuddling extra close, and
Molly, not yet 3 months old, was able to rest center-table in
car seat. Like so many other fathers on that day, I seriously
considered gobbling her up from toes to eyes! Yes, we who had
survived were FEASTING on FAMILY that evening. The restaurant
was quite filled with people worn out by grief, and just as
our hot meals were being delivered, the warmest of managers
and waitresses suddenly approached us and invited everyone to
pray. No one refused, no matter how hungry or how ready their
food for eating. One sweet waitress suggested we draw closer,
so the entire crowd moved outside to the parking lot, where we
formed a giant circle - about 60 of us, from a baby Molly to a
very elderly woman who took out of her pocketbook a tiny book
of prayers with which to lead us. We were all so different, so
many nations and creeds, and yet all the same and linked hand
to hand and heart to heart round a fresh flowing pool of tears.
At the end we all said together “Our Father Who art in Heaven."
September 11, 2001, had brought out the Beast in a few
but the Best in the rest! And I dedicate my blog to its memory
and to the memory of so many goodnesses that have come from God
especially through the hearts of humans, who bear His likeness,
whether they know it or not. But never was it seen more clearly
than in our ability to turn something so horrible as the tragic
events of 9/11/01 into so much good. “No Worse Day” became, in
a real way, “No Better Day!”
what's it like having a wife and six kids after having been a friar for many years and being still married to St. Francis' Lady Poverty?
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6 thoughts on “My Opening Blog – NO BETTER DAY”
Thank you Mikie.
Your shoulder to shoulder companion,
Anthony, the great epic, Beowulf, which we all TRIED to read in high school, coined that perfect phrase, and you sure have been TRUE to it for 46 years!
mikie, I could listen to the stories of your journey through life a thousand times over. ❤
Whenever I read anything from Michael, he reels me in with his genuine, loving comments about our church…the Catholic Church. He makes me remember what a gift it is to belong.
Mary Jo, my lifelong friend, it is true that i savor my Faith as my very highest treasure. Still, there are many times that i get disgusted and discouraged with the Church. That is why i feel so incredibly blessed to have the Pope’s Preacher as my e-pal. One
day i shared my anxiety with him and asked how he stays so perky? He sent me this answer: Martin Luther would ask a fellow teacher and reformer, Erasmus, just why he decided to stay with a church that was so clearly, so vividly corrupt and broken. Erasmus simply and humbly answered, “I stay with her in hopes that she will improve, just as she has always stayed with me in hopes that I will improve.” WOW!