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Friday, January 31, 2014

Mercy is the greatest of the virtues...

The Pope always emphasizes mercy. Here he quotes Aquinas as saying that mercy is the greatest of all the virtues as far as external works are concerned.

To continue with the Pope's "Gospel of Joy":

  1. Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that the Church’s moral teaching has its own "hierarchy", in the virtues and in the acts which proceed from them. What counts above all else is "faith working through love" (Gal 5:6). Works of love directed to one’s neighbor are the most perfect external manifestation of the interior grace of the Spirit: "The foundation of the New Law is in the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is manifested in the faith which works through love". Thomas thus explains that, as far as external works are concerned, mercy is the greatest of all the virtues: "In itself mercy is the greatest of the virtues, since all the others revolve around it and, more than this, it makes up for their deficiencies. This is particular to the superior virtue, and as such it is proper to God to have mercy, through which his omnipotence is manifested to the greatest degree".
How do I practice the virtue of mercy in my daily life?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

From the Heart of the Gospel

Let us continue with another excerpt from "The Gospel of Joy":
(The bold is mine as it seemed the most important to me.)
III. From the heart of the gospel

  1. If we attempt to put all things in a missionary key, this will also affect the way we communicate the message. In today’s world of instant communication and occasionally biased media coverage, the message we preach runs a greater risk of being distorted or reduced to some of its secondary aspects. In this way certain issues
  2. which are part of the Church’s moral teaching are taken out of the context which gives them their meaning. The biggest problem is when the message we preach then seems identified with those secondary aspects which, important as they are, do not in and of themselves convey the heart of Christ’s message. We need to be realistic and not assume that our audience understands the full background to what we are saying, or is capable of relating what we say to the very heart of the Gospel which gives it meaning, beauty and attractiveness.
    1. Pastoral ministry in a missionary style is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines to be insistently imposed. When we adopt a pastoral goal and a missionary style which would actually reach everyone without exception or exclusion, the message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary. The message is simplified, while losing none of its depth and truth, and thus becomes all the more forceful and convincing.
    2. All revealed truths derive from the same divine source and are to be believed with the same faith, yet some of them are more important for giving direct expression to the heart of the Gospel. In this basic core, what shines forth is the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the  dead. In this sense, the Second Vatican Council explained, "in Catholic doctrine there exists an order or a ‘hierarchy’ of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith".38 This holds true as much for the dogmas of faith as for the whole corpus of the Church’s teaching, including her moral teaching.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Vatican Aps

Instead of giving you an excerpt today from the Pope's Gospel of Joy, I want to tell you how much I love the Vatican Aps that not only shares the Pope's twitter message each day, but has all the events, audiences, and news of the Pope. I find myself reading it every morning now and finding that this Pope has made Jesus come alive for me in a new way. He is so outgoing, merciful, kind, loving, and ready to risk by saying and acting as Jesus wants him to - I hope this is changing me, too!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do not walk alone...

I think that reading the "Gospel of Joy" is helping me to see my own life in a new way. Here is another excerpt to reflect on today:

Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: "We have always done it this way". I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities. A proposal of goals without an adequate communal search for the means of achieving them will inevitably prove illusory. I encourage everyone to apply the guidelines found in this document generously and courageously, without inhibitions or fear. The important thing is to not walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters, and especially under the leadership of the bishops, in a wise and realistic pastoral discernment."

(The bold is my highlighting!)

The important thing, the Pope tells us here, is not to walk alone! I think this is so important for us to learn to rely on each others and to know that it is good for others to rely on us - we find new ways of reaching out to others as long as we keep Jesus as the center of our lives!
I want to mention two books that I am using as I find them helpful.The one is on my Kindle and I-Pad and is A Big Heart Open to God: A Conversation with Pope Francis" published by HarperCollins. It is the complete interview with the Pope that was published in America plus some great commentaries on the interview.
The other book I mentioned before but I am still using it for either spiritual reading or prayer - it is Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus by Pope Francis. Some of his meditations are worth underlining, something I do when a phrase or paragraph really speaks to me. Others I just read, but I am still trying to keep up with all the Holy Father says, writes, and does!

Monday, January 27, 2014

We have all the time there is...

Time is such a gift. Here is something I copied that may be helpful:
First: Nobody can manage time. But you can manage those things that take up your time.

Second: Time is expensive. As a matter of fact, 80 percent of our day is spent on those things or those people that only bring us two percent of our results.

Third: Time is perishable. It cannot be saved for later use.

Fourth: Time is measurable. Everybody has the same amount of time...pauper or king. It is not how much time you have; it is how much you use.

Fifth: Time is irreplaceable. We never make back time once it is gone.

Sixth: Time is a priority. You have enough time for anything in the world, so long as it ranks high enough among your priorities.

Remember, as I was told by the very holy Mistress of Probation in Rome sixty-four years ago,
"You have all the time there is; no one has more time than you do." 

To continue with an excerpt from the Holy Father's "Gospel of Joy":

Other Church institutions, basic communities and small communities, movements, and forms of association are a source of enrichment for the Church, raised up by the Spirit for evangelizing different areas and sectors. Frequently they bring a new evangelizing fervor and a new capacity for dialogue with the world whereby the Church is renewed. But it will prove beneficial for them not to lose contact with the rich reality of the local parish and to participate readily in the overall pastoral activity of the particular Church.29 This kind of integration will prevent them from concentrating only on part of the Gospel or the Church, or becoming nomads without roots.

30. Each particular Church, as a portion of the Catholic Church under the leadership of its bishop, is likewise called to missionary conversion. It is the primary subject of evangelization,30 since it is the concrete manifestation of the one Church in one specific place, and in it "the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative".31 It is the Church incarnate in a certain place, equipped with all the means of salvation bestowed by Christ, but with local features. Its joy in communicating Jesus Christ is expressed both by a concern to preach
him to areas in greater need and in constantly going forth to the outskirts of its own territory or towards new sociocultural settings. Wherever the need for the light and the life of the Risen Christ is greatest, it will want to be there. To make this missionary impulse ever more focused, generous and fruitful, I encourage each particular Church to undertake a resolute process of discernment, purification and reform.

  1. The bishop must always foster this missionary communion in his diocesan Church, following the ideal of the first Christian communities, in which the believers were of one heart and one soul (cf. Acts 4:32). To do so, he will sometimes go before his people, pointing the way and keeping their hope vibrant. At other times, he will simply be in their midst with his unassuming and merciful presence. At yet other times, he will have to walk after them, helping those who lag behind and – above all – allowing the flock to strike out on new paths. In his mission of fostering a dynamic, open and missionary communion, he will have to encourage and develop the means of participation proposed in the Code of Canon Law,34 and other forms of pastoral dialogue, out of a desire to listen to everyone...."  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The First Disciples

This Sunday's Gospel has an interesting commentary, especially about the lack of service on the Sabbath - I guess I keep learning...

Jesus' Ministry

After John’s imprisonment, Jesus moves from Nazareth, his tiny hometown, to Capernaum, a larger crossroads town by the Sea of Galilee. He continues preaching John’s message: “Repent, for the reign of heaven has approached” (Mt 4:17).

Matthew encapsulates Jesus’ ministry in a summary statement (Mt 4:23): Jesus was teaching in the synagogues; preaching the good news, and healing.

In Jesus’ day the synagogue was a gathering place, like a modern community center, where males could meet on every day of the week to study or pray. Here Jesus read and listened to Torah, disputed and argued with others, but did not attend Sabbath services, for there were none at that time. For the ordinary first-century Jewish believer the Sabbath was not a day of worship; it was simply a day of rest.

As for his healing program, Jesus is clearly a “folk” healer and not a “professional” In contrast to the latter, Jesus attempts to heal people. He doesn’t just talk about healing.

The First Disciples

Jesus’ act of calling disciples is a common event in the Middle East. Usually, a person with a grievance invites people to join him in resolving the grievance. We don’t know Jesus’ grievance, but the disciples certainly did. This in part explains why they dropped everything to follow him. In unified groups there is strength.

Moreover, this is the dry season. Farmers simply wait for the harvest. Fishing partners can leave the fishing to others for the time being. Now is the time to be out and about, to be seen and heard, to pursue group interests.

Such group orientation or connectedness permeates this reading as it does the entire Bible. The lives of the Baptizer, the disciples, and healed clients are entirely intertwined with Jesus.

Jesus’ group-oriented culture lived by second nature what people like Samuel Gompers and Saul Alinsky would later have to teach to modern American individualists: Organize! Build your network! It’s the only way you can win.

John J. Pilch

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What are you doing for your parish?

I guess I am feeling a call to get others involved even though I am not involved in my own parish.
Read this and reflect and see how you feel:

From Pope Francis' Gospel of Joy:

"The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community. While certainly not the only institution which evangelizes, if the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be "the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters". This presumes that it really is in contact with the homes and the lives of its people, and does not become a useless structure out of touch with people or a self-absorbed group made up of a chosen few. The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a center of constant missionary outreach. We must admit, though, that the call to review and renew our parishes has not yet sufficed to bring them nearer to people, to make them environments of living communion and participation, and to make them completely mission-oriented."

Well, I guess I can at least pray for pastors and for all of us to heed the Pope's words and become open and creative and in touch with the reality of our lives. 

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."
Saint Catherine of Siena

Friday, January 24, 2014

Missionary Option

The Pope says that he dreams of a missionary option. Listen to what he says:

"I dream of a "missionary option", that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself."
We need to go out and try to help our parishes; unfortunately we are often not active in our parish yet what are we doing to help the parish become a place of growth?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Evangelization consists mostly of patience...

I do want to cover the main points in the Holy Father's "Gospel of Joy" as I know most of us have not the time to study it or even read all of it. Here is the next excerpt:

"An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. Evangelizers thus take on the "smell of the sheep" and the sheep are willing to hear their voice. An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be. It is familiar with patient expectation and apostolic endurance. Evangelization consists mostly of patience and disregard for constraints of time. Faithful to the Lord’s gift, it also bears fruit. An evangelizing community is always concerned with fruit, because the Lord wants her to be fruitful. It cares for the grain and does not grow impatient at the weeds. The sower, when he sees weeds sprouting among the grain does not grumble or overreact. He or she finds a way to let the word take flesh in a particular situation and bear fruits of new life, however imperfect or incomplete these may appear. The disciple is ready to put his or her whole life on the line, even to accepting martyrdom, in bearing witness to Jesus Christ, yet the goal is not to make enemies but to see God’s word accepted and its capacity for liberation and renewal revealed. Finally an evangelizing community is filled with joy; it knows how to rejoice always. It celebrates every small victory, every step forward in the work of evangelization. Evangelization with joy becomes beauty in the liturgy, as part of our daily concern to spread goodness. The Church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy, which is both a celebration of the task of evangelization and the source of her renewed self-giving."
Are we striving to form evangelizing communities?  How am I standing by others every step of the way? Am I really ready to put my whole life on the line to bear witness to Jesus? Plenty to reflect on today!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sail on, stay calm...

Sometimes a picture is the best way to reflect on our lives. I am in a boat and the waters are calm. This helps me to center and I love the sandy beach, the mountain peak in the distance still covered with snow, and the serenity of the entire picture. It speaks to me and calls me to sail on.
Here is another bit from the Pope's Gospel of Joy:
"The Church’s closeness to Jesus is part of a common journey; communion and mission are profoundly interconnected".20 In fidelity to the example of the Master, it is vitally important for the Church today to go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear. The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded. That is what the angel proclaimed to the shepherds in Bethlehem: "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people (Lk 2:10). The Book of Revelation speaks of "an eternal Gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tongue and tribe and people (Rev 14:6)."


    "The Church which "goes forth" is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy. Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become involved. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The Lord gets involved and he involves his own, as he kneels to wash their feet. He tells his disciples: "You will be blessed if you do this"

I was so impressed with the Associates who came to the Quad Area meeting from both Houston and New Orleans. These are wonderful women who are living our charism and giving testimony to God's love to their families and colleagues in the midst of a busy life.

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

    Black sheep

    This picture reminds me of the uniqueness of each one of us. God delights in His creation and in each and every created being. We are cared for and loved unconditionally. It is good for us to keep reminding ourselves of how much God loves us. Even when we wander off and get lost, He comes to our rescue and carries us tenderly home. We need to believe this and trust in His Love.

    I thought I would go back to the Pope's "Gospel of Joy" today as there is so much in it for us to reflect upon.

    "The Gospel joy which enlivens the community of disciples is a missionary joy. The seventy-two disciples felt it as they returned from their mission (cf. Lk 10:17). Jesus felt it when he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and praised the Father for revealing himself to the poor and the little ones (cf. Lk 10:21). It was felt by the first converts who marveled to hear the apostles preaching "in the native language of each" (Acts 2:6) on the day of Pentecost. This joy is a sign that the Gospel has been proclaimed and is bearing fruit. Yet the drive to go forth and give, to go out from ourselves, to keep pressing forward in our sowing of the good seed, remains ever present. The Lord says: "Let us go on to the next towns that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out" (Mk 1:38). Once the seed has been sown in one place, Jesus does not stay behind to explain things or to perform more signs; the Spirit moves him to go forth to other towns."

    Am I radiating missionary joy? How can I reach out to others today?

    Monday, January 20, 2014

    Martin Luther King

    When I think of my childhood in St. Louis and the segregation that existed then, I feel we have come a long way, but there is still so much we need to do. Racism is still strong in the United States and we need to be aware of how we are discriminating against not only African Americans but also those of other nationalities. We do not pay a just wage to so many and that is not right. I hope that we make real efforts to improve our schools in the poorer neighborhoods as education seems to be the only way for many to climb out of poverty. I guess I feel strongly about the injustice that I see right here in my city.

    We returned late last night from the Quad Area meeting in Grand Coteau. The Jesuit Spirituality Center has been modernized and was wonderful. We had single rooms with bathrooms, wonderful meals, and a huge meeting room with comfortable chairs. Of course, this all helped to make it a really good time for all, but it is the people who come and who are so open and who want to share what God is doing in their lives that really makes this such a grace-filled time. I enjoyed going to the cemetery at our convent and visiting with old friends there. The cemetery and the old cottage have been made over - no more crosses in the cemetery but a lovely engraved stone is now marking each of the graves that go back to the 1800s as Coteau was founded in 1821 and so many died at a young age then. It was a good visit and I loved being with so many Associates and also hearing what so many of my friends are doing.

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

    Some more pictures of Grand Coteau

    I love the walk under the trees. We have wonderful pecans from the trees at Grand Coteau. The cemetery has many of my friends buried there. There used to be a rose bush entwined around each of the crosses. Back in Miami in time to celebrate Martin Luther King's Day.

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

    Grand Coteau

    This is a picture of part of our school in Grand Coteau. I will write more when we return. It is interesting that the town is famous for our school and for the Jesuit Seminary and Spirituality Center and there is still only one stoplight so you see it is really a country town with little traffic. It has a very special spirit and I love being there. It is full of our history and even had a college at one time so that the girls could begin as small children and finish their education in the same convent atmosphere. They still take boarders and I think they now have girls coming from China! We have one community in an historic cottage on the school grounds and another in town and we work with the poor as well as run the school which has recently started a separate school for boys.

    Friday, January 17, 2014

    Jesus waits for us.

    Jesus waits for us. He is patient. He came a helpless baby so that we might approach Him and love Him. He still needs us. We are His hands and feet now. We are the ones who must announce the Good News and do so with joy.
    We are in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, this week end for a Quad Area meeting of RSCJs including some of our Associates. It is always a good week end as we spend all of Saturday letting each one share with the group how God has been acting in our lives during the past year. I find it unites us as a group and we do begin each session with prayer. We will be in the Jesuit Spirituality Center this time for our meetings, but go over to our convent for Mass on Saturday evening and there is time before for a visit to see the new school for boys and to pray in the cemetery. Grand Coteau's Academy of the Sacred Heart was founded in 1821 and is the oldest Sacred Heart school in continuous existence.

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

    Jesus and the World

    This picture leads to reflection. Sometimes I forget how small the earth is in comparison with the universe and with other planets, yet God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to live with us and teach us how to love and live for others.

    I keep going back to the thought that Jesus is so loving and cares for each of us so much that somehow things will work out even if I see so much that is wrong and so many who are suffering from injustice and lack of care. I need to do what I can, but not lose the joy that God wants each of us to have as we live our lives trying to please Him. He really does want us to enjoy life and has given us so many things in our daily lives to thank Him for, if we only have eyes to see.

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    Missionary Spirit

    Perhaps because I was with someone last week end who was with me in Chile, or maybe because the Holy Father keeps talking about going out to others, or maybe it is just the result of meditating on the way Jesus had a passion to spread the Good News, --whatever it is, I seemed to be filled with a real desire to make Jesus known and loved. I hope this blog helps to do that. Jesus is so present to each of us, but we need to realize this and be with Him who is always with us.

    Keeping a gratitude journal has been a big help in my life. I think a grateful person is a happy person!
    So many little things happen each day and we are able to reflect back and thank for these even if we did not feel so grateful at the moment. Try it and see if it helps you to live in joy!

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

    Centered in God

    The Christmas season is supposed to be over but I still want to contemplate the Infant Jesus. In the meantime, I will continue with a few thoughts from the Pope's homily in honor of St. Peter Favre.

    "Favre experienced the desire to let the center of his heart be occupied by Christ. Only when centered in God is it possible to go out towards the peripheries of the world! And Favre journeyed without respite even to geographical frontiers; indeed, it was said of him that he appeared to have been born never to stay still in any one place. Favre was consumed by the intense desire to communicate the Lord. If we do not have the same desire, then we need to pause a while in prayer and, with silent fervor, ask the Lord, through the intercession of our brother Pierre, that we might again experience the fascination of the Lord who led Pierre in his 'apostolic follies'".

    Am I consumed by the desire to communicate the Lord?

    We know this Jesuit by the name of Peter Faber! He was the first Jesuit ordained a priest and Ignatius and the others made their first vows at his Mass.

    Monday, January 13, 2014

    The deep waters of God

    My own Baptism was on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul in the Church of St. Peter and Paul which was in Pinelawn, just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It was 1931 and I, of course, remember nothing of the day. I was the first girl grandchild and know that my Dad's Mother and five sisters were there plus my Grandfather McLaughlin, and great aunts and uncles were no doubt around, too.
     I am still meditating on the Baptism of Jesus.

    Here is some of the homily the Pope gave in honor of St. Peter Favre on January 3:

    "An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to change the world. And this is the question we should pose ourselves: do we too have great visions and zeal? Are we bold too? ....Let us always remember that the strength of the Church does not reside in herself or in her organizational capacity, but is instead concealed in the deep waters of God. And these waters agitate our desires, and our desires expand our hearts. It is as St. Augustine said: pray to desire and desire to expand your heart. It was precisely in his desires that Favre was able to discern the voice of God. Without desires, one cannot go forth, and this is why we must offer our desires to the Lord."

    I keep thinking of "the deep waters of God" - I am also so grateful for the water of Baptism1

    Sunday, January 12, 2014

    The Baptism of Jesus

    John baptized Jesus with water and water is still what is used in administrating the Sacrament of Baptism. We are made children of God in a special way when we are baptized. Do you celebrate the anniversary of your Baptism? What would you want to remember about it now that you are able to enter into the mystery of the great grace we have received at the moment of Baptism? We now call God, Father, and we know we are "heirs of heaven" for we are called to be happy for all eternity with the Blessed Trinity. I guess that this Feast makes us think of all that we want to thank God for in marking us as very specially His own in the Sacrament of Baptism.

    "The strength of the Church does not reside in herself, but is instead concealed in the deep waters of God." That quote is from the homily given by the Holy Father on January 3 to give thanks for the new Jesuit saint, Pierre Favre. I will quote more of the homily tomorrow!

    Saturday, January 11, 2014

    Why did Jesus go to be baptized by John?

    Why does anyone leave home? I think there is usually a desire for something more; something builds up inside of a person and they just know that it is time to move but I am not sure they know why. Anyway, I think that Jesus had prayed and discerned before making the decision to go to see what John was doing on the other side of the Jordan. I am sure he talked it all over with his mother. He leaves and never really returns to live in Nazareth, but I do not think he knew yet what he was called to do. That comes after he goes into the water and is baptized. Then there is a revelation; the Father calls Jesus his beloved son and says that he is pleased with him. The Spirit leads Jesus into the desert and I think that is when his vocation is gradually revealed to Him. He is to go out and spread the good news of the Reign of God and to teach, heal, and preach.
    We do not always know that God wants and need to be in touch with the Holy Spirit and listen to the voice of the Father. God is always with us and calling us to greater things.

    I am now trying to read a daily commentary on each day's Gospel from Notre Dame. You may want to check it out:
    FaithND faith@nd

    Friday, January 10, 2014


    I copied this from my good friend and former student's blog. It is listed on the side, Random Musings... and has a great picture but here is what I think many would also like to reflect on today"
    Grandchildren by Frederick Buechner

    To have grandchildren is not only to be given something but to be given something back.

    You are given back something of your children's childhood all those years ago. You are given back something of what it was like to be a young parent. You are given back something of your own childhood even, as on creaking knees you get down on the floor to play tiddlywinks, or sing about Old MacDonald and his farm, or watch Saturday morning cartoons till you're cross-eyed.

    It is not only your own genes that are part of your grandchildren but the genes of all sorts of people they never knew but who, through them, will play some part in times and places they never dreamed of. And of course along with your genes, they will also carry their memories of you into those times and places too—the afternoon you lay in the hammock with them watching the breezes blow, the face you made when one of them stuck out a tongue dyed Popsicle blue at you, the time you got a splinter out for one of them with the tweezers of your Swiss army knife. On some distant day they will hold grandchildren of their own with the same hands you once held them by as you searched the beach at low tide for Spanish gold.

    In the meantime, they are the freshest and fairest you have. After you're gone, it is mainly because of them that the earth will not be as if you never walked on it.

    ~originally published in Beyond Words