Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
I may have told you this story before and if so, enjoy going down memory lane with me again.

When I was a kid growing up in Holy Family parish in North Miami, our pastor was Msgr. Rowan T Rastatter. He was a great priest, a cigar smoker, a kind of ‘captain of the ship’ and you always knew he was in charge. So the last thing anyone ever expected was to see Monsignor cry. But every year, it happened twice. The first was on Catholic Charities Sunday, when he made the appeal on behalf of the charities of the diocese. Maybe it could be compared to our ABCD.

Monsignor was in charge of Catholic Charities. When I was a kid that included nearly the whole state of Florida. It was under that hat that he built Mercy Hospital and Holy Cross hospital. He also saw the needs all over the place and his reaction was genuine. He was a truth-teller about genuine need. (I suspect we were generous on that day.)

The other time we saw his tears was on Mother’s Day. Monsignor’s dad was still living and worked with him, but his mother was not there. I presumed she was with the Lord, but he wasn’t the type to give a lot of details. What we did know was that she must have been very special judging by the way Mother’s Day could evoke his tears.

Today brings me many memories of my own mother, all of them good, even on her “thin lips” days - which meant she was ticked about something but was holding it in until the strategic moment for ‘improvement therapy’ to present itself.

As you perhaps know, she had six more after me to prove to the world she could do better... and she did. She was tiny considering what she brought into the world, 4’10” and she broke 100 lbs. only once when she was pregnant with Patty - who today is a petite blond. Go figure.
Today we heard about the special needs of widows in our reading from the Acts of the Apostles. Mom was widowed when she was 56 and went another 31 years, being Mom. I remember my sister Cathy catching us off guard when we had gathered after Mom’s funeral Mass by saying, “Now what are we going to do?” and we’re saying, “about what?” and she is answering, “losing our Western Union operator.” Mom was our go-between, and we’d check in with her to see how each other were.

I know sometimes, people for one reason or another don’t have a lot of good memories of parents or family life... sometimes the contrary. Why do things happen the way they do? Why do things like abuse, addictions, alienations occur in families? Each question has a different wrenching answer.

I’d like to think that perhaps in telling stories about the good stuff, that even someone who doesn’t have great experiences to recall, can be encouraged to be a provider of good memories. I think my sisters have done that for their kids and surely Mom had an influence on them, but each of them on their own would have done well.

Grace is the relationship we have with God today. That relationship is always good as far as He is concerned. Every time you hear the word grace, think “relationship.” Sanctifying, actual, grace under pressure...

Treasure your good “mom” memories with prayers of thanks to the Lord, and pray to the same Lord for healing about the memories that aren’t so good. Prayer helps healing.

Saying “Happy Mother’s Day” is another way of saying “May we be blessed by the best that is in us and the best that is in others.”

In the Son who loved his mother,
sign frjim

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