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Monday, October 31, 2016

Take a Side...

"The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision.  It is a silent acquiescence to evil.  The tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction."

-- Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, priest, author and one of the first and greatest televangelists in U.S. history.  Sheen hosted a prime time television show called, Life is Worth Living in the 1950's and The Fulton Sheen Program in the 1960's.  His cause for canonization was officially opened in 2002 and, earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI recognized him as "Venerable Servant of God," for a life of heroic virtue... 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Time Was Up for Fernandez and Friends...

Fatal collision...  
"Trust me.  It's not my time."

Those were the fateful words Eduardo "Eddy" Rivero texted to a friend, just hours before the boat he was in with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez and another friend, Emilio Macias, came to a violent collision against a jetty of rocks near the Port of Miami. The impact, in the early morning hours, was so loud that it was reportedly heard miles away.

All three were killed, possibly instantly, as they were thrown under water in a jumbled heap of fiberglass, rock, steel, aluminum and rubber.

And, just like that, as the waves cascaded against the wreckage and the light of the crescent moon shone above, a rising baseball star and his young friends, including Macias, who had met Fernandez earlier that day, were gone.

They were in the prime of their lives and full of dreams, hopes and ambitions.  Instead, a yet-to-be-born baby will never know her father, a young mother will have to raise a daughter on her own and three families, their co-workers and friends are left to mourn, lament and try to make sense of a senseless tragedy.

Rivero (left), Fernandez (middle) and Macias (right)...
It's sobering how quickly life can change.  One minute you are having drinks and fun with friends at a trendy bar, the next, you're cruising on a boat off the shores of South Beach and suddenly you are being tossed around like a rag doll against the hull of the vessel and your life is over.

I can't imagine what goes through someone's mind, if there was even time to think, in that split second it took from the impact of power boat with the edge of the jagged rocks to when it flipped over and landed upside down on the jetty.

The tragic accident reminded me of the many times, in my 20's, when I could have easily been where Fernandez, Rivero and Macias were that night. Only, it wasn't my time.  Maybe, it was my guardian angel.

Of course, as the haunting Rivero text shows, we never know when it's our time.  I can go for a jog, like an old high school friend did a couple of years ago, have a heart attack and die.  It can happen that fast; with no previous warnings or signals (The same thing happened to my father-in-law, while gardening at the age of fifty-three).  

Shakespeare once wrote, "We are time's subjects, and time bids be gone."

Hall-of-Fame talent...
Death is part of life.  In fact, from the time we are born, our bodies are on a slow but certain trajectory towards death.  Yet, we prefer not to think about it.  We are too busy living to think about dying.  Although, we should.  We never know when we exit our front door if it's the last time we are leaving our loved ones.  Time waits for no one.

Unfortunately, in the fast-paced life we live today, we never have time for anything.  We're in such a constant haste; to work, to school, to pickup the kids, to drop off the kids, to run errands, to meet deadlines, to pay bills, to answer emails, to family, school and church commitments, and more, that we never have time to stop, breathe and contemplate our inevitable demise.

St. Thomas Merton once wrote, "We are so obsessed in doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being.  As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do..."

Our parish priest said recently, "We're all on an exterior journey; physically, as we grow older, intellectually, as we learn and study at school, in our careers, planning and going on vacations; always moving, always traveling.  But, we sometimes make the mistake to presume that those things on the outside are our only journey."

We need to make time to grow in our relationship with God, love our family and friends and consider our own mortality.

As St. Paul's writes in his first letter to the Thessalonians, "Now, as to the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need of anything to be written to you.  For you know that the day of the Lord (the day of judgement) will come like a thief in the night.  While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape." (1 Th 5:1-3)

Apparently, it was Rivero's time, as well as Fernandez's and Macia's and they could not escape it, ready or not...