Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
I am slowly being physically reconstructed. About 21 years ago, I had a hip replacement. It was tremendously successful, however, it ended my basketball playing and any possibility for an NBA career. Of course, talent may have had something to do with that!
Today, I’ll make my way to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, to have a partial knee replacement. For a long time now, it’s been difficult to walk up stairs and I can hear a loud click when my knee moves in a certain direction. It’s impossible to genuflect without being near a stable object that I can use to support myself. Although a profound bow is certainly acceptable, my early training by the sisters as an altar boy during my grammar school days, makes me less than comfortable in acknowledging the real presence without that bended knee.
Medicine has progressed so much in the last 30 years, that what was thought to be impossible just yesterday, is now everyday practice. My partial knee replacement will be performed on an outpatient basis. If all works out well, I’ll be back on the job on Thursday and genuflecting in three weeks. I might even be able to play a little golf this summer without the need for my partner to retrieve the ball from the bottom of the cup!
Although mechanics and brilliant medicine can reconstruct the body, there’s only one thing that can refashion the soul, and that’s prayer, penance and good works. The formula has been around for thousands of years. I remember a few years ago being present, when a person we all knew, looked and acted differently than how everyone had experienced him. Suddenly he was pleasant; he was considerate and had a hopeful attitude. “What got into you?” someone asked him. “Jesus,” he answered.
I think St. Paul is right. The only true reconstruction of a person occurs when he or she accepts Jesus into their life. I no longer live, but instead, He lives in me. This doesn’t only give us a new hip or knee, it radically alters our entire being. Once Jesus becomes your life, it’s the best reconstruction possible. You know in the depth of your heart that you are loved by God and you seek to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the February 3, 2015 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.