January 18th, 2003 was the date of my first blog post, . I forgot my blogiversary until finding an old post about Fr. Benedict Groeschel. It was Jan. 2004- around my first year blogiversary and I want to re-post it now. The "friend" mentioned is now my fiance, who told me she remembers reading this post and being angry at me for calling her "my friend".
Fr. Benedict Groeschel
When I began my journey back to the faith, I read a couple of books by Fr. Groeschel including the excellent The Reform of the Renewal. His intelligence and humor really impressed me. The first discovery I made of something orthodox and local was the Americans United for the Pope lectures at Kellenberg High School. At the second lecture I attended a man spoke briefly about a retreat he was running in the high school retreat house which would be led by Fr. Groeschel. He would be there the entire weekend so I could not pass up this opportunity. He was excellent and just as funny and intelligent as expected. I have since spent two weekends on retreats with him and heard him speak a few more times at the school. In December he had another retreat at the school but I passed it up since I had already been to two retreats and had some things I needed to do. I did however make plans to hear him speak on that Sunday, but alas, it snowed heavily and my friend and I decided not to risk the drive. Now of course we wish we had risked it since my friend has never heard Fr. Groeschel in person. Now that he has had this serious accident, I am realizing just how much he has meant to my spiritual journey. Here are some things from Fr. Groeschel that have stuck in my mind-please keep in mind these are mostly from my memory so they are paraphrases and may not be 100% accurate:
Gen X Revert: “How are you Father?”
Fr. Groeschel: (shrugging shoulders) “Ehhh…I’m old”
From Arise from Darkness:
“No one lives the Christian life perfectly. In my life I've known dumb Jesuits, confused Dominicans, proud Capuchins, rich Franciscans, and Salesians who can't stand small children. I've known merciless Sisters of Mercy and uncharitable Missionaries of Charity and foolish Daughters of Wisdom.”
On being called a “conservative” priest: “I don’t want to conserve anything …I want to blow the whole thing up!”
On dressing for Mass: “The middle class dress like they are going to the beach and the upper class dress like they are coming from the beach”
On meeting Mother Theresa for the first time: “I thought she was so ugly she was almost cute”
On his funeral: “If people at my funeral talk about me like I am already in Heaven, or the music is too sappy, I am going to get up out of that coffin and scare the daylights out of everyone!!”
On hearing, along with a Rabbi friend, at an outdoor Easter service, a minister preach that whether the physical resurrection of the body actually happened is not important: “I wanted to push the minister over the cliff, but then thought of the headlines- Priest Kills Minister While Rabbi Looks On”.
On Youth 2000: “I belong to Youth 1950”
On his community: “Our median age is 37 and if I drop dead tonight it will go down to 25”.
On translation: “In the old canon we said ‘From the rising of the sun to its dimunition,( to its setting)’-a beautiful poetic phrase, now we say ‘From East to West’. Whenever I hear that East to West I think of I-80!”
On the younger guys of his community: “The younger men in this community are so good I feel like I don’t deserve them. One guy I teach is so good, so holy, that on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception I wish him a Happy Name Day”.
On Reform from Scandal to Hope: “The fact is that the great majority of laity are more traditional and devout than they have been permitted to be by those who saw renewal as the principal object of Christian life.”
On the scandals from Scandal to Hope: “Does all this scandal shake your faith in the Church? I hope so, because ultimately your faith should not be in the Church. Ultimately our faith is in Jesus Christ, and we accept the Church. We support the Church. We believe in and belong to the Church because Christ established it on His apostles.”