Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
I am sure that many of you share the same experience that I have had: driving away from the residence, getting all the way to the expressway or some point in your travels, and then discovering that you do not have your wallet. Panic-stricken, you turn around and lose over half an hour in travel time, but you can’t be without your driver’s license and at least a few dollars or credit cards for emergency purposes. Then, there is the discovery when you search to make a phone call or retrieve an address that you left your cell phone back at the house. It’s stressful to have something which you need for peace of mind to be missing from your immediate grasp.
I can’t believe that it is already August. It seems that something is missing – the summer. I can remember as a kid that there were summers filled with rainy days and cool weather, but those were just a few weeks at a time – more like shoplifting than a bank robbery. This past interruption of summer’s normal weather eliminated the trips to the beach or playing softball in the empty prairies with the neighborhood kids.
However, this summer it seems that someone or something has robbed summer from me. All the things that I wanted to accomplish, all the people I wanted to visit or contact have been swept into the timeless void of existence. We certainly will never get this summer back. Oh, I know that we have the technology to contact one another via Skype or Zoom or phone calls – and, this is certainly a blessing – but, nothing is a substitute for the real thing, which is being in the presence of a person whom we love and admire face-to-face. We wear masks and keep a social distance because this brings a sense of peace and well-being to our friends and relatives. Yes, it is inconvenient and sometimes uncomfortable, but we would never want our loved ones to be placed in danger.
This spring and summer, we have experienced a separation from our normal routine. We had to work hard to make sure that Sunday was not just another day. We were not able to physically attend Sunday Mass, and we were denied access to the Eucharist. Although live-stream and public TV Masses have helped to take the edge away from a portion of the separation, nothing that substitutes the importance of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Sacrament or the gathering together with parishioners for worship.
We will not get our spring and summer of 2020 back. We have been robbed of those parish picnics, festivals and summer camps. Nevertheless, as we begin to return, we will have the memories of what was denied and how we sometimes take for granted many things that are essential for our peace and well-being. First and foremost, we must acknowledge God as our highest priority; without Him, we are nothing. Then, we acknowledge the Real Presence of Jesus, the loving sacrifice as food for our journey through life, as well as the ability to be in the presence of our family, relatives and friends. We should never allow anyone to rob us of these gifts, as we pledge in the name of Jesus to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the August 4, 2020, "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.