This is a day of confluence for me. Twenty years ago, I was welcomed into the maternal embrace of the Catholic Church, receiving the sacrament of Confirmation and receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus for the first time—the food that has kept me alive. For the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist, and for the fullness of the Catholic faith, I cannot be grateful enough to the good Father of us all.
I thought that year would set the basic parameters of my life, and, in religion, it has. Another putative sacrament later that year didn't seem to take, so my vocation is still fundamentally in question (at my age!) But in all the darkness of these last years of my life, there has been Jesus in the Eucharist, and there has been an unbreakable faith. Blessed be God.
A year ago, on this day, Lillian Vogl (my Catholic-birthday buddy) and I launched the blog "Beyond All Telling."
But before all of this, it was on this day in 1980 that my father died. To be fatherless in this world is a hard thing, and if no one on this earth steps into that role spiritually, it is a privation hard to even survey.
And yet the good Father of us all exists, and He is good, and there will be when all shall be well.
This poem is from my first manuscript (my father flew B-17s in WWII, and was shot down twice):
For my father
How cold it must have been those three dozen sorties;
How loud, within the belly of the dragon;
How quiet, floating down a thousand stories;
And colder, when your friend was strafed and slackened.
It ruined you. You couldn’t drink enough
To exorcise the gelid cacophony.
You fathered freedom, though, and, in that, us,
Crushed the rage that slaughtered Jews so savagely.
Still, I can’t keep a father. They all go.
Joseph, David’s son, could you foster me?
Of my unquiet bapa, too, take custody?
And ward my children’s own unpatroned woe?
Would that the festal, gliding, glinting ranks
Drop soundless fire upon these orphaned banks.