A Story for the 2nd Week of Advent…


I walked back from Church of the Gesu last night just before 6 pm.  By the time I arrived at the crosswalk at the MU Library, I heard a human voice howling.  My goodness!  It came from near the bus stop on 16th.  Painful, coming from a wounded man.  The voice was coming eastward on Wisconsin Avenue.  I couldn’t see the person yet.  I did see college students making detours on their way wherever.

I remembered a story from a young Jesuit who ministered in Chicago with the Franciscans at Cabrini Green, a tough place.  When they heard sounds of distress or even gunfire, they “walked toward the sound of pain.”  That’s what he was told to do and did.  That’s what I did for once.

Here was a young African-American man crying out in what sounded like pain and agony. So, I walked along beside him.  “How ya doin’, man?  You OK?”  More howls and cries from his depths.  “Can you put it into words?”  He eventually said,

“Life is so beautiful.  I’m so thankful.  I don’t know how to…  Seems weird, right?”

“Man, you made my day.  Life is beautiful.  I’m thankful too.”

We walked on a bit.  “God bless you,” he said and kept walking.  “Thanks, man.”


Expectations dashed.  Not pain, but beauty.  Not a problem to solve, but a connection in gratitude.  Is it possible we run from beauty as quickly as we run from pain?

Wow.  Open my eyes, Lord.  –roc,sj


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