To not give in to sadness. Sirach 30:21
The older I get, the more convinced I am of God’s amazing grace — that spontaneous, free and undeserved help and those unexpected opportunities that God sends our way.
I have felt God’s grace many times in my life, but I would like to mention two times, in particular, when I acted on a hunch, an idea or an opportunity that presented itself out of nowhere. I am not special. You have had them too.
The first one I would like to mention was the day that I proposed to Joseph Duerr, long-time editor of The Record, that I might like to try my hand at writing a weekly column. He did not ask me. I asked him. I don’t know what got into me, but the idea just came to me and I decided to check it out. I may have even been a bit surprised that he said “yes.” I know one thing for sure. I had absolutely no idea whatsoever that I would be doing it every week for more than thirteen years. It has been one of the most rewarding things in which I have ever been involved.
The second one was the day, more than five years ago, that I decided to offer a Blue Christmas Mass at Our Lady of the Woods Chapel on the campus of Bellarmine University where I have been serving as a part-time campus minister for the last fifteen years. I was hearing people tell me how much they dreaded going to Mass on Christmas because they were grieving while everyone around them seemed to be so happy. It occurred to me that I had the time, the place and the idea, so I asked myself, “Why not try it and see what happens?” It has been an amazing experience for the last four Christmases, as I am sure it will be again this year.
I am often moved to tears as people arrive and feel the need to tell me why they have come. I hear about suicides, divorces, slow deaths from terminal diseases, sudden deaths from accidents of all kinds, loss of jobs, homes and reputations, as well as the loneliness of merely living alone. To be able to offer some comfort, hope and empathy to them going into Christmas has been a privilege and a blessing that has come to me through the grace of God. I am humbled and honored by the whole experience.
If you are one of those people who find Christmas a rough season to navigate for whatever reason, please join us at 4 pm on Christmas Eve. The chapel is not large. It only holds about 175 and we always have close to 300, so we would appreciate it if you would let those who really need it have this time. We will have another Mass following it at 6 p.m. for anyone else who would like to celebrate Christmas at Bellarmine University.
To read more from Father Knott, visit his blog: FatherKnott.com.
Father J. Ronald Knott