Sunday, September 10, 2017

In the Midst of Them

You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked, "O wicked one, you shall surely die, " and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. Ezekiel 33:7-8

Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."  Matthew 18:19-20

Serenity Prayer - Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

You, son of Salvatore, I have appointed watchman for the House of Fairfax.  When you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. 

The Divine Presence of Jesus where ever we gather guarantees the triumph of our prayers. Two or more implies that the first church is the family.

It was certainly mine. Father – when I think of “father” I think of devotion, unending love, sacrifice, quiet endurance, and serenity. Salvatore James DeCristofaro would have been 86 years old today.

He taught me to ride a two-wheel bike by adjusting my training wheels so they were still on the bike but didn’t touch the ground. I felt safe flying around Albon Court thinking I still needed those two extra wheels.

When I outgrew the pedals, he taught me to drive a car and to take care of it.  How to use a timing light to tune that car. How to use a ratcheting socket to change the spark plugs. How to use a screwdriver to set the points (before electronic ignitions). How to use an oil filter wrench to change the 10W30 every three months. How to wash and wax it so it wouldn’t rust and how to paint it when it did. He drove me to school, to church, and to CCD.

He taught me how to fight fires in our small-town volunteer fire department.
Dad also was an amateur carpenter with skills honed in his days at McKee Vocational-Technical High School in Staten Island, as a Machinist Mate 2 on the USS Charles R. Ware (The Guardians of the Sea) and at Proctor & Gamble’s former Port Ivory plant.  He taught me how to help build a new room onto our house, a shed in the backyard and much more. He had the courage to influence and change the lives of his three children even though it meant enduring this son's sixth grade basketball season on a team that went 1-13. (But there were ice cream sundaes all around at the soda fountain in Campbell’s Junction after that one victory.)

Through his vocation as a father, Dad also taught me how to deal quietly with suffering when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He faced that with God-granted Serenity because God also gave him the wisdom to know he couldn't change it. Dad taught me all that and more before his lungs gave out on March 5, 1987. He was our watchman. He was our guardian of the sea.

Spend some quiet time today thinking about who has watched over you.  Who are you now watching over?

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