Deacon’s Corner, January 13 2019


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Last week in my homily, I talked about Fr. Ron Rolhieser’s new kind of bucket list to experience the Epiphany.  Here is an excerpt from his article with the bigger picture. Fr Ron wrote:

What’s still unfinished in your life?  Well, there’s always a lot that’s unfinished in everyone’s life. Nothing is ever really finished. Our lives, it seems, are simply interrupted by our dying. Most of us don’t complete our lives, we just run out of time. So, consciously or unconsciously, we make a bucket-list of things we still want to see, do, or finish before we die.

What do we still want to do? A number of things probably immediately come to the fore: We want to see our children grow up….see our daughter’s wedding…see our grandchildren.  We want to finish this last work of art, of writing, of building. We want to see our 80th birthday….to reconcile with our family.  But…the better question is:  how do I want to live…to be ready to die when it’s my time?

In a wonderful little book on contemplation, Biography of Silence, Spanish author, Pablo d’Ors, stares his mortality in the face and decides that this is what he wants to do in face of the inalienable fact that he’s one day to die. Here’s his bucket list:“ I have decided to stand up and open my eyes. I have decided to eat and drink in moderation, to sleep as necessary, to write only what contributes toward improving those who read me, to abstain from greed, and never compare myself to others. I have also decided to water my plants and care for an animal. I will visit the sick, I will converse with the lonely, and I will not let much time go by before playing with a child.”

In the same manner I have decided to recite my prayers every day, to bow several times before the things I consider sacred, to celebrate the Eucharist, to listen to the Word, to break bread and share the wine, to give peace, to sing in unison.  To go for walks, which I find essential.  To light the fire, which is also essential. To shop without hurry…greet my neighbors even when I do not like seeing their faces…subscribe to a newspaper…regularly call my friends and siblings…take excursions…swim in the sea at least once a year… read only good books, or reread those that I have liked.  I will live for those things according to an ethics of attention and care.

And this is how I will arrive at a happy old age…with a different kind of bucket-list:  I am going to strive to be as productive as long as I can…to make every day and every activity as precious and enjoyable as possible…to be as gracious, warm, and charitable as possible…to be as healthy as long as I can…to accept others’ love in a deeper way than I have up to now…to live a more-fully “reconciled” life – no room for past hurts anymore…to keep my sense of humor intact…to be as courageous and brave as I can…to never look on what I am losing, but rather to look at how wonderful and full my life has been and is.  And, I am going to lay all of this daily at God’s feet through prayer.  Not incidentally, since then I have also begun to water plants, give care to a feral cat, and feed all the neighborhood birds.

I hope you enjoyed this article a much as I did.  You can read more from Fr. Ron at   May you be blessed with a happy and joyous New Year!

Deacon John


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