Today a lot of people experience deep loneliness. They think no one cares about them. This book shows how we are never alone because God is constantly trying to get our attention, offering us words of comfort and love.
I can't even begin to tell you what I personally experienced once I learned to listen to God's voice under so many varied circumstances. But like others before me, I learned a lot. I can't share it with you, but I can share the situations wherein I heard the voice of God. That is what this book is all about- finding God even under a log.
The challenge of this book is this: we will never know true peace unless our actions speak gospel values. And we'll never know gospel values unless we're willing to listen to the Voice of God. God is speaking...got a minute?
He drove his car to the cemetery and read the committal service. It was a brisk day in May and as he looked around at the small band of mourners, he felt their pain and their loss. He walked over to them and told them he was very sorry their aged sister had passed on. Not one for small talk, he picked up his cane and hobbled back to his car. That's the way he was-kind, compassionate and feeling- but oftentimes unable to put the movements of his heart into words.
Pastor of a sizeable city parish, he put his best into the care and feeding of his flock. His health was fast deteriorating, but still a young man of 53, he tried desperately to keep up with the demands made on his time and energy. Little did he know that within 24 hours, he would return to the cemetery, but this time he would be prayed over and committed to the earth from whence we all arose.
He had lunch at the rectory, bantering freely with his housekeeper and rectory staff. Then he took a short drive to the store, came back and went upstairs to his room.
The secretaries were diligently working in the office below when they heard loud noises in the room above them. "Are they moving furniture around upstairs?" one innocently asked.
As the pounding continued, the girls ran upstairs and found their pastor. He had fallen to the floor, struck by a fatal brain aneurysm, yet calling out for help as best he could.
The girls dialed 911 and soon Father was off to the local hospital and the emergency room. While there, he slipped into a coma and the next day, he expired.
Another priest, his friend and associate, led the prayers of the dying over him. "St. Ann, pray for him. Sts. Peter and Paul, pray for him. All ye saints and martyrs pray for him." And then the prayer wish that would cap a lifetime of devotion and dedication: "May he rest in peace!"
No one would believe he was dead. It all happened so fast. His grieving brothers and sisters took turns and kissed his lifeless body in fond farewell. His loyal secretary held his hand and whispered a tear-stained goodbye. His devoted housekeeper touched him and burst into tears. The love at his deathbed was a stirring tribute to a man who treasured his priesthood and rejoiced in its gift.
And when he was laid out in his priestly vestments at the local funeral parlor, the crowds came to say "Thank You" and to remember. The young couple he recently married, the children he had playfully hugged, the strong silent men and women whose lives he had touched with his down-to-earth, no nonsense brand of Christianity. "God loves you and so do I", he would say with a huge grin that somehow turned the moment into a blessing.
How do you sum up 25 years of priesthood? How do you insure the memories stay alive?
A priest spoke a personal eulogy of Father Roger. He chose the text "Greater love than this no man hath, than to lay down his life for a friend." That speaks his life, for to Father Roger, we were all his friends. His life energized and made ours whole and sacred.
Father cried, Father suffered, Father died. Even though he was priest, he put his friends first. Nothing he did was enough for his friends. They always were sure of more from him, no matter the cost.
We honor him best when we remember his dedicated life was his greatest homily. We honor him best when we remember he never did anything or gave anything without making sure part of himself stamped it real.
God blessed us all, when he gave us Roger as a priest, a leader, a teacher and friend. May he truly rest in peace!