A light in the darkness–Braving night blindness to meet an inspiring young man

FEBRUARY 25, 2016–Driving in the rain and meeting an inspiring young man

How is your eyesight at night? Obviously it depends on your age. I will be 60 in a couple of weeks and my eyesight at night is TERRIBLE. I’ve taken to whispering a quick prayer every morning to St. Christopher to get me from point A to point B in one piece; I also keep his card in the car. I need him, especially in the rain! Driving in the rain at night is the worst. Honestly, I keep losing a sense of where I am because I can’t see marker points, and I just have to trust my gut that I know where I am going. The glare from the lights just blinds me. And is it me, or are headlights twice as bright as they used to be? Or does everyone just leave their high beams on? A downside to nearing 60 …

Jason Trbovich that saturday afternoon drive in the rain, Flickr Creative Commons
Jason Trbovich that saturday afternoon drive in the rain, Flickr Creative Commons

But, the upside is I get these wonderful freelance assignments from our local Catholic newspaper to cover stories. The last two assignments have taken me to a wonderful ecumenical prayer service at Assumption College, and a closing mass for a parish mission at St. Rose of Lima in Northborough. I love newspapers, having worked on both sides of the spectrum, as a production artist and now as a columnist and reporter. Life is good. God is good.

Anyway, last night I met an eighteen-year-old man who truly inspired me. A senior in high school, he has just become an altar server. Last night’s mass was his first mass and he was a poised and confident pro. I asked him after mass how he happened to make this unusual decision to become a server and he explained that the pastor, Father Houston, had invited him to serve. His first assignment? A military funeral. He spoke of the power of that funeral and how that experience led him to ask Father Houston if he could serve again. When I asked him what he wanted to study in college, he replied, “Criminology.,” and when I asked why, he said that he loved public service. Be still my heart.

It was worth driving at night in the rain to hear that story.

Confession as reconciliation–something I now look forward to

FEBRUARY 24, 2016–I used to dread going to confession; now I look forward to it!

I’ve been a Catholic since birth (60 years this March 19) and always dreaded going to confession. As a kid it was scary; as an adult it was embarrassing–I could never remember my sins! I mean I know I screw up big time but I never can remember the specifics. Thankfully I now have a tool based on the Ten Commandments to help me come up with those specifics.

If you are of another faith tradition, I know confession is hard to understand. Why should someone have to act as an intermediary between me and God when it comes to owning up to what I’ve done wrong? It all begins to make sense when you find the right confessor. Honestly, it’s like trying to find the right doctor or shrink–you have to know what you want in that person and be aware when you find it.

Our associate pastor, Father Jim, is the confessor I’ve been looking for. Such a patient listener, compassionate and quite wise for a man of thirty (my son is that age!). He’ll let me babble on trying to explain my sins to him only to assure me I’ve made a good confession. He then figures out the theme of my sins, offers good counsel and assigns a penance that makes sense, I feel tremendous relief and gratitude every time I confess to him. Honestly, I actually looked forward to going yesterday! I examined my conscience yesterday morning, made my list and waited all day to see Father Jim.

God is near, we know that. Some Christian faith traditions believe the Eucharist is the physical presence of Jesus. But there is something about spilling your guts to another human being, especially one who has been ordained and appointed by God to help. And help it does.

I hope you’re as lucky as I in finding a good confessor.


Busting that delusional bubble–a taste of humility

FEBRUARY 23, 2016 — First entry in my spiritual journal. I had a “comeuppance” with God last week. It began with disappointing news which led to doubts and confusion about everything I am doing, and then to other, more painful realizations. I feel like I am squinting under a very bright light, totally naked, utterly exposed. A really raw, uncomfortable feeling! It’s been like that since the weekend. I feel like I lost my footing. And all the while I am preparing a presentation about getting to know yourself better by following the way Jesus did it. Yeah, right! Who feels like the hypocrite now?

So last night I am recording this presentation to make it available here on the website and my words keep accusing me! It took over an hour to record that sucker but you know something? By the end I started smiling because I realized that besides being exposed, I was also the butt of a joke. God has a dear sense of humor. 🙂

I began to feel the worst of it fade just a tad. Last night when going to bed I thought I would take my rosary to bed as clutching it always helps. I found a rosary bracelet that my dearest friend Jackie gave me and I wore it. And this morning I felt a wonderful sense of peace and the beginning of clarity on how to deal with my “comeuppance.”

It’s never fun having one’s delusional bubble burst; man it hurts! But knowing that I can go back to God and make it right, and knowing how kind and caring (and funny) he can be makes it a lot easier to deal with.

God is always near