I’m currently in Albuquerque, NM, the city in which I grew up. I’m here for my childhood pastor’s 40th anniversary of ordination. At this event, I’ve naturally done some reflecting on the beginnings of my Byzantine Catholic faith, what it means to be a priest, and thanked God for this good man and priest in my life. I’ll speak about these reflections later, but I want to share something I didn’t expect to reflect upon during this trip. I’m staying with a friend that I haven’t seen in years. He picked me up from the airport, took me to one of my old haunts for lunch, and then drove me to his new house. As we drove into his neighborhood, I had very intense nostalgia and wondered if this was the neighborhood that I lived in when I was very young. I texted my parents and found that we lived on that very block when I was four years old.
I walked to the neighborhood park and all the memories of bike riding, sledding, and evening walks with my family flooded my mind. Since I was so young when I formed these memories, I immediately reflected upon how a major part of all these memories was the reality of being taken care of. I wasn’t old enough to go to the park alone, so I was always being guided, guarded, and kept safe. 39 years later, the guardians I’m aware of have become Our Lord, the Theotokos, the Archangel Michael etc., but these guardians are too easy to forget since I don’t perceive them the same way. I felt encouraged to thank these ever-present Guardians, acknowledge their presence more often, and live a little more courageously because of this renewed awareness.
Monday, October 18 –