|Deacon Kevin and Pope Francis|
I can’t explain it – can you? Something has changed. I used to walk through the streets of Rome all the time, dressed in a roman collar, as I am now, but no one would stop me. Sure, they might ask me for directions. But how did the two girls just now who asked me to bless their rosaries know that I could bless their rosaries? I must have been walking down Via di Porta Angelic about 100mph, cell phone to my ear, just coming from the metro and on my way to a religious goods store before beelining it across Saint Peter’s Square to a train that I knew wasn’t waiting for me.
And yet these two 14-year-old girls had no fear in stopping me – Mr. in-a-hurry – and asking me to bless their rosaries.
I guess something’s changed. I mean sure, I knew that I had received a special seal on ordination day, I know that I’m different now. But I didn’t think I’d be this kind of different, and without trying. Somehow my relations with everyone have drastically changed. I’m still the same me – in fact, to make it to that train on time I still had to jump the barrier in Saint Peter’s Square, cut through the line into the basilica, and make a mad dash up the hill to the station. These two girls were just the latest – among many – who have stopped me since that fateful day exactly two weeks ago when I received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Things have changed. Reminds me of John 21: “when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” I don’t consider myself old yet, but my life is certainly not my own any more.
That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned in these first two weeks as a deacon. I’ll try to write some more of the things I’ve learned as there’s time. And hey, it’s not my time anymore, so I’ll write when the time is given me!
God bless you all,
PS- I head to the US tomorrow at 10am to start my ministry as a deacon. Please pray all goes well!
PPS- Here is a better photo of me and Pope Francis last Sunday. I’m still savoring the memories, and will try to write them out in full!