||This column is the bishop’s communication
with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.
My granny often repeated to me, “Bobby, getting old is not for sissies.” Granny lived to 96 and I’m only 65, but I can confirm that in this (as in most everything) granny was right on the money.
Last week, I headed out to Baltimore for the annual gathering of the bishops of the United States. We were just getting started with our meetings when I took a spill and fell (with full weight) face-first into the pavement. In the process I suffered several cuts, a broken nose, and a bruised knee. Thanks be to God, it wasn’t worse!
Fortunately there was another bishop and two priests right there with me, and I was off to Mercy Hospital, where the doctors forwarded me on to the University of Maryland Medical Center. If we could choose the timing of our accidents, I would have preferred, of course, to be with my own outstanding doctors at St. Mary’s, but as it turned out, the care I had was really top notch, and I remain so very grateful to all of those excellent women and men — each and every one of them.
The injuries were what they were, but they were compounded by the blood thinners I’ve taken since my heart surgery. Again, “getting old is not for sissies!” I’m doing great and I’m so grateful to God for that. I may have to miss a few meetings and will stay closer to home for Thanksgiving, but all is well. Thank you all for your prayers, well-wishes, calls, and notes.
Opportunity for reflection
As often happens with all of us, the accident and recovery did provide some excellent time for reflection and prayer, with regard to the gift of our lives and of our health. I remained prayerfully mindful of all those who must spend more of their days in the hospital or in nursing care. None of us should neglect to pray for, to visit, and to spend time with our sisters in brothers in those situations.
All of this is perfectly timed as we come upon the Thanksgiving holiday. Contrary to what we experience with ever-greater prevalence, Thanksgiving is not for shopping, or even primarily for eating. It is a holiday for doing precisely what its name implies — for giving thanks. Regardless our struggles and crosses, we should recall all that for which we have to be thankful, especially in terms of our country, our family, and our health and lives.
It’s something that we as Catholics should be used to, because our Eucharist, the Holy Mass, is an act of thanksgiving in and of itself. At each and every Mass we come before God to recognize just how good He is to us, even despite our sinfulness and even despite our own failings.
Give thanks every day
So my main point is really very simple, and it’s only one in number — let’s really take the opportunity to give thanks, both at Thanksgiving and every day, and let’s do that in a particular way by offering “all glory, laud, and honor,” to our Savior and Redeemer at every Mass and through our daily lives. Our God is so very good to us, and we do have a great deal to be thankful for. If you read this prior to Thanksgiving, do what you can to make it to Mass on the holiday, and remember to make prayer a part of your Thanksgiving gatherings, for it is God who bestows on us all that is good.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. May the Lord continue to bless you and all your loved ones — for who I am so very thankful. Praised be Jesus Christ!