A few random thoughts as we approach the holy season of Advent ..
Reverend Monsignor Chester Michael would have celebrated his 100th birthday on October 17, 2016, had his earthly body been able to sustain life (on earth) for another 27 months. As it is, we can be sure that he celebrated with the “cloud of witnesses” from a beautiful vantage point in the spiritual realm. Thanks, Joe Duquette, for reminding us of his birthday last month.
Fr Chet taught us, in many different venues, but especially during the annual retreats at Tabor, that an effective process of personal prayer would include the elements of gratitude, discernment, petition, blessing, and contrition (GDPBC). I continue to follow this teaching on a daily basis. Last weekend I taught the RCIA class at Holy Comforter and recommended this prayer aid to the six candidates present. It has proven to be a great starting point as souls develop a prayer life and this is just one small example of how the influence of Father Chet continues to percolate in our world.
In reviewing his book “An Introduction to Spiritual Direction” I had a revelation that Fr Chet would want to remind all of us, especially the graduates of SDI, that we have a mission & responsibility to sustain & grow the application of spiritual direction in our faith communities. Thank you, Fr Chet, for you ministry & vision of the importance of spiritual direction.
A personal vignette: In October of 2006 Carol & I invited Fr Chet to join us on a pilgrimage to Italy which focused on St Francis. He jumped at the chance, despite his age (89). It was a rigorous trip with a lot of walking but Fr Chet was fully present & involved .. he did allow
himself catnaps on the bus when possible. A highlight of the trip was our celebration of his 90th birthday in Assisi.
Finally, a reflection for personal contemplation: “None of us can afford to be mediocre. We are called to be saints according to the state of life God has destined for us, and to bear witness to the truth of Christ with the shining light of a life of total dedication to God. We can all be dedicated apostles in bringing the message of salvation to our brothers & sisters. Having received so much light and love, we must not be satisfied until we have shared our riches with the whole world.” (A New Day, p. 9)