“How is it that you are angry with me
for curing a whole man on the sabbath?.”
I lost a dear friend in September, 1998. The anniversary of his passing nudged numerous memories from my mental archives. I laughed as I considered this rebel who was like a dad to me…
I met Father O’Connell when he was a newly ordained priest assigned to my childhood parish. Our friendship took root immediately. Father always took the time to talk to me. He was the first person I told when my dad passed away. Father was also a bit of a rebel. Though he respected the letter of the law, he had great compassion for those in need. I remember his locking horns with the housekeepers of the rectory because he had “cluttered up” the basement with clothing which he collected for the poor. Years later, Father locked horns with a local mayor because he had hired some striking city workers to do odd jobs around the church so they could put food on their tables.
Perhaps it is because Father had such a good and generous heart that nothing ever came of the murmurs against him. In each instance, someone came to bat for him, perhaps out of fear that Father was a little too close to God to mess with. Though these words pale in the shadow of Father’s legacy, I am happy to share that a bit of his rebellious nature lives on in me. Though I never challenge the rules for my own sake, I habitually set them aside in the interest of love -God’s love, to be precise.
Dear God, be with us as we strive to live in accord with your love.
©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved