Y'all know that song? Mercy is falling, is falling, is falling; Mercy, it falls like a sweet spring rain; Mercy is falling, is falling all over me.
It's not my favorite but it was in my head often this weekend as I drove around Illinois; the sky is amazingly wide there, since it's, well, FLAT. See picture. You will notice the cloudiness. It was such a funny thing; I was driving along and then suddenly I could hardly see because it was raining these huge drops and then just as suddenly my windshield wipers would start squeaking because it was over. This happened a few times on my 2.5 hour journey. Snap and the weather changes! It seems to be somewhat analogous to the mystery of the Holy Spirit; being the Gift of God, He blows where He wills. Suddenly He's there and He shows Himself; just as suddenly He hides and waits. As Fr. Antonio always puts it: We beg Him to show Himself, to come again. That's what prayer is.
It was a rainy ordination day in Peoria. Bishop Jenky is so lovable and such a joyful father and shepherd to his flock. The music filled the small cathedral with power- brass instruments and all. There were so many young men walking around in cassocks that you wondered what was in the water. An older lady behind me in line for the bathroom spoke about her 10 children- 6 biological and 4 adopted- as well as her pride that one son is in the seminary, and I knew that that was what is in the water in Peoria. The Knights were in their full regalia, with swords guarding the center aisle. Red tabernacle lights were brought out to frame the altar at the consecration; incense filled the air. One of my favorite arrangements of "For the Beauty of the Earth" was sung, along with classics like "Veni Creator Spiritus". It was beautiful and true- attractive. As funny as the hats of the Knights were, they were real men. The Bishop was a real father. The cantor was a (not effeminate) man as well. The brass instruments rang through the place and with the choir in the loft, filled it from above. Nothing distracting and all directed toward God.
In line for a blessing (out the door, times 2), I was adopted by some of Fr. Ryan's family and was generously offered a place to stay for the night. I knew that God would provide a place, but I could not have anticipated such total hospitality. At the dinner in honor of the occasion, it was wonderful to hear stories about Fr. Ryan's childhood and how he has touched so many lives. They made a collage of pictures, and in the picture of his First Communion, I'm tellin' you, it was right there in his face: an undivided heart! Praise God for the beauty of the priesthood and for His particularity which opens to all.
And of course, it was such a grace to be with Sr. Wind in her city. I like Chicago a lot! And just being with her was wonderful; our throats were sore from talking. I miss you already!