by Patrick B. McGuigan
Edmond, Oklahoma – I saw Him last summer at Lake Hefner, when our Jewish community prayed for three young men, children of Abraham murdered in another spurt of violence aimed at the nation and people of Israel. We followed Rabbi Vered Harris that day, who also prayed for a young Arab Muslim who had been killed.
I felt the Father (Abba) when the Chabad Community Center and “my” rabbi, Ovadia Goldman, lit the Menorah in Bricktown on the first night of the Festival of Lights, lifting communal petitions to a loving God.
I remember Him in four men who supported me in reporting the truth as I saw it at varied times in my career in journalism: Paul Weyrich, Edward L. Gaylord, Brandon Dutcher, Bob Lemon. I had My Lord’s counsel, from reporters and colleagues over the many years after I discovered that I had the soul of a reporter.
I saw Him during a fundraiser at Church of the Open Arms, benefiting the Food Pantry where the poor “shop” for necessities. … His message arose in a Vespers service from Oklahoma City University.
I saw Him in the life of John Paul the Great. I hear Him in JP II’s successors. I understand Him in the words of St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel, using words if necessary.” I experience Him when Our Lady’s Cathedral Choir raises united voices for Sacred Liturgies, year after year. I felt Him, sitting in a pew at Olivet Baptist, as Steve Kern sang a love song to his wife.
I know Him, in the breaking of the bread, in the cuddle of a grandchild, in the students and staff at Justice Alma Wilson Seeworth Academy.
I do not profess to understand every moment when I met Jesus, along the way. With age has come the certainty that I have entertained Angels, unaware (Hebrews 13:2). As St. Paul said, I saw through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12), and one day shall see my God, face to face. Truth is immutable, yes, but our experience of it is colored by personality, disposition, the totality of a given moment of vulnerability, or anger, or intellectual acuity.
I serve Him, receiving the love of friends, my dear children – Josef, Stefan, Erin and Andy – and grandchildren, and the blessings of my beloved spouse, Pamela. He is there in the moments of love, and even in times of hate. Usually just outside the realm of sight, but sometimes right in front of me. As my Savior said, I only need eyes to see, and ears to hear (Matthew 11:15; 13:9)
And, to be sure, a heart to believe. May it be so.
My friends here present and those who shall read my words of petition: Persevere in our noble mission, witnessing to truth, and never bearing false witness.
“The proof of love is its manifestation in deeds (1 John 4:16). … [L]et not one believe the answer his heart gives in his own case apart from the testimony of his works. Let him examine his words, his thoughts and his life concerning the love of his Creator. God’s love is never idle. Where it exists, it does great things; if it refuses to work, it is not love.”
– Homily 30, from ‘Gregory the Great: Forty Gospel Homilies’ (Cistercian Publications)
pp 236-237, translated from Latin by Dom David Hurst, Monk of Portsmouth Abbey
NOTE: This essay is adapted from McGuigan’s comments, delivered Thursday at the University of Central Oklahoma, upon the occasion of his induction in the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. The first version of these reflections appeared during Christmas season at the websites, www.CapitolBeatOK.com and www.City-Sentinel.com .
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