As you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends the Diocesan Department of Communications invites you to revisit an article from this summer written by Most Reverend Richard Lennon, Bishop of Cleveland.
Last weekend through the kindness of friends I was at Progressive Field to watch some baseball. It was a delight with good weather and a well played game which the Indians won. As things would have it I sat beside a young girl, maybe eight or nine years old who was there with a gentleman, might have been her father. She was certainly into the whole baseball scene, knowing who was who on the field and recognizing good plays when they happened.
Early in the game it also became very apparent she had her heart set on getting herself a baseball. Every time there was a foul ball she watched to see how close it would come her way. When the ball boy chased down a foul ball and returned to the dugout she would be waving her glove to catch his attention. As you can imagine many other young children, especially boys, were doing exactly what she was doing, that is trying to get a ball so that they could go home with their treasure!
Well, the first inning ended as did several other innings and she was still looking to get a ball. While it struck me she was committed to this goal, she spoke softly, not yelling, and was not forward pushing herself to the front. Other people in this area noticed her and clearly were rooting for her to get her baseball. The gentleman with her continued to encourage her in her pursuit to run over to where the ball boy was getting the foul ball or when the player was coming to the dugout with the ball that ended the inning.
The sixth and seventh inning came and went and now the eighth inning started. Again there was a foul ball and the ball boy ran over to the backstop, picked up the ball, and started to the dugout. The little girl with glove in hand started to run over to where the boy would be passing, and the gentleman spoke to the girl saying, “say Please.” She got close to the dugout, boys and girls were yelling and stretching out their gloves, and she said in a relatively soft voice, “Please, may I have the ball.”
The boy stopped in his tracks and looked and identified the girl who had said “Please.” He walked over toward her, and rolled the ball on the top of the dugout into her glove.
A number of people in that area congratulated the girl and she was smiling from ear to ear, she got her ball, all because of a word--Please. A word that spoke mightily. What I saw affirms that words do matter. One only needs to have seen and heard what I experienced to know that the right word can and does make all the difference in the world.
Over the weekend I thought quite a bit about what I just described. Reality has a way of bringing home an image which stays with us--in this case, a word makes a difference.
Also, over the weekend I was thinking about the upcoming Year of Faith which Pope Benedict XVI has instituted for all Catholics to enter into beginning this October 11, 2012 and ending on November 24, 2013. As our Holy Father he is encouraging this because he knows only too well how foundational Faith needs to be in our lives. Faith is what unites us with God and in turn motivates us to engage ourselves in the world around us to better the situation of our brothers and sisters. Our Faith always needs to be growing so that our communion with God is strengthened.
Pope Benedict is looking for all of us to embrace what will be offered this year to all Catholic believers universally, nationally, in our dioceses, and in our parishes as the means to achieve deeper communion with God. The Pope in his message wants all believers to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ--He is the Word of God, as noted in John’s Gospel; He came amongst us, suffered death and rose from the dead as our Savior, the Savior of all people of all time and of all places.
Thus, Benedict most strongly is urging all of us to focus our attention on Jesus Christ, on our personal relationship with Him--He is the Word who makes all the difference in the world.
On a smaller scale the girl at Progressive Field taught those of us who were looking on the power of her word--Please. You and I are invited this year to make our word--Jesus Christ, and then to live like it makes all the difference in the world for us and for those with whom we share generously and graciously the Word, Jesus Christ.
Shortly you will be hearing much more about the Year of Faith. My prayer for all the Faithful of the Diocese of Cleveland including myself is for a year of religious renewal rooted in the Word, Jesus Christ.