I’m on a Delta Flight to San Francisco, connecting through to Honolulu where I’ll be speaking at Chaminade University, the Island’s only Catholic University.
Last night I attended the 10th Anniversary Celebration of Busted Halo as I mentioned yesterday and I was thinking of my wife’s grandmother all night. I went to the family Christmas party one year and my wife’s grandmother, 90 years old sat with her husband, 96 years old, and looked at the hundred or so people in the room and said, “Louie! Look at what we did!” She beamed all day. And I did the same last night.
Video screens dominated the room with various displays of the work that Busted Halo does. It was very impressive and in a room full of high powered donors, it was exactly what was called for.
Stephanie Manowski who directs the Paulist Office of Media Relations came over and asked me my feelings about the evening. I replied, “Good Lord, I was here before we had office furniture!” I lowered my voice and humbly whispered, “Look at this now. Amazing!”
Unfortunately, Fr. Brett Hoover and Bill McGarvey were unable to attend. My two colleagues were big parts of Busted Halo’s® success and have, like me moved on to different ministries and jobs.
But we all saw. We saw what could be, what was needed and what our gifts and talents were. Those visionary moments continue with Fr. Dave Dwyer and Joe Williams and Barbara Wheeler now at the helm. And that vision is worth celebrating and continuing to give to others.
I am filled with gratitude today because others were able to “see me.” Fr. John Mullin, SJ saw my pastoral gifts as my campus minister at Fordham and after graduation, I started attending St Paul the Apostle where Fr. Eric Andrews and Fr. Brett Hoover continued to see much in me that I probably didn’t even see in myself. They started me on the road to ministry, to Busted Halo®, to Charis Ministries, to Googling God, and now to Buffalo where writing and they always enabled me to see and highlight my pastoral gifts–where I now so clearly see myself, especially in spiritual direction with others.
They’ve given me that gift of vision and now I’m able to pass that on to others.
The highlight of my evening last night was seeing a former directee of mine who I’ll call Susan (to protect her anonymity). She looks amazing. She’s lost over 50 lbs, she runs an amazing non-profit and she stands tall and confident. She’s amazing and she always has been. She came to me when I first started to do direction with people. I’m sure I made some mistakes early on, but I was able to help her see her need for silence and contemplation–to see her need to be herself with God, so that God could show her the gifts and talents she possess and how she longed for more meaningful work in her life. While I was there at the start of this thing called Busted Halo®, I think I’m a lot prouder of all the people like Susan who allow us to be there at the start of “something new” for them.
Also, Joe Williams, who now occupies my old office at Busted Halo® met me in a similar way and I was happy to be able to hire him initially part-time, to help us with producing videos, when he was looking to use his amazing skills differently. Joe now is a superstar. He produces all of those great videos that Busted Halo® is well known for, more now than ever. I’m so proud of him and of his work. And I’m glad I was a small part of his “something new.”
Whether that’s because they watched a video that inspired them, or listened to an engaging podcast or radio show, or read an article that moved them one step closer to God. Perhaps some go a step beyond the pre-evangelization that Busted Halo® provides and spends some time in spiritual direction, or on a retreat, or an alternative break we enable people to meet God. Maybe they give a year of their lives in service or simply come to mass, whatever it might be we need to be mindful that we stand on the precipice of an awakening, an awakening to what God has waiting for them in their lives.
And it is more than enough and it our purpose for being alive.
For today, my gift is gratitude for both my former colleagues in ministry but even more, I am grateful, for those who we have been blessed to journey with to awakening, those who were brave enough to let us see them in all their raw longing for “something new”, to live through the growing pains and to awaken to a new day.
Where we are able to see each other and all of God’s glory reflected in each other.
And that indeed is a “something new” worth waiting for.