Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” – “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns
I had two hours of free time. This was a great gift for me, so I made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed a book I wanted to read, sat in my favorite easy chair and, as my eyes began to scan the page, I heard a sound – beep, beep, beep. It stopped, so I returned to my book. Again, the beep, beep, beep sound, and again it stopped. I couldn’t ignore it, so I started to investigate where the noise was coming from.
I couldn’t read anymore, being disturbed by the sound, so I searched the room and discovered that the beeping sound was coming from the smoke detector in my bedroom. It was attached to the ceiling. Apparently, the batteries had run down and needed changing – which meant I had to get a ladder to reach the device. Trudging down to the basement, I secured a ladder, came back to the room and detached the device, silencing it by removing the batteries. By now, my free time was ruined; the cup of coffee was cold, and my plan for a book read was gone. I had planned everything except the “unexpected.”
Our lives are so filled with the unexpected. I remember a piece of advice that Cardinal Joseph Bernardin once offered about the struggles with his cancer. This was a man who suffered publicly, having to recite the progression of his illness at every turn. He was a spiritual man whose relationship with God was everything. He profoundly shared some advice: take the time to pray when your health is good and your mind is free from distractions, because the ability to concentrate is so difficult when you’re in pain. And you want to give God your best.
We can’t plan for the “unexpected.” Our lives can change in an instance. When we think we have everything under our control, that’s when we are most vulnerable to the beep, beep, beeps in our lives. But, we can devote time to the relationships that strengthen who we are, and affirm our dignity. God, family and friends prepare us to meet the unexpected with a confidence that we are instruments of God’s plan to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the May 15, 2018 "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.