On a day like today…

So many short years later, Father Judge’s last homily is a reminder and a blessing to all of us on the job. I found it last night once again and wanted to share it, as I often find this homily to be a balm for the various wounds life and this job can visit on us. I hope you find his words to be as well. The emphasis in color is mine.

“Good morning, everyone.

May the grace of God the Father, peace of God the Son, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

We come to this house this morning to celebrate renewal, rejuvenation, new life.  We come to thank God for the blessings over all the years – the good work that’s been done here and especially the last few days.  We can never thank God enough for the reality of the lives we have.  So, standing in His presence this morning, and truly this is a chapel, let us pause for a moment, perhaps close our eyes, and thank God for some special blessings in our individual lives.

Let us pray.

Thank you Lord for life.  Thank you for love.  Thank you for goodness.  Thank you for work.  Thank you for family.  Thank you for friends.  Thank you for every gift because we know that every gift comes from you, and without you, we have and are nothing.  So, as we celebrate this day in thanksgiving to you, keep our hearts and minds open. Let us enjoy each other’s company, and most of all, let us be conscious of Your presence in our lives and in a special way in the lives of all those who have gone before us.  And Father we make our prayer, as always, in Jesus’ name who lives with You forever and ever.

That’s the way it is.  Good days.  And bad days.  Up days.  Down days.  Sad days.  Happy days.  But never a boring day on this job.  You do what God has called you to do.  You show up.  You put one foot in front of another.  You get on the rig and you go out and you do the job – which is a mystery.  And a surprise.  You have no idea when you get on that rig.  No matter how big the call.  No matter how small.  You have no idea what God is calling you to.  But he needs you.  He needs me.  He needs all of us.  

The retirees – He needs your prayers.  He needs your stopping by occasionally to give strength and support and to tell the stories of the old days.  We need the house and to those of you that are working now, keep going.  Keep supporting each other.  Be kind to each other.  Love each other.  Work together and do what you did the other night and the weeks and the months and the years before and from this house, God’s blessings go forth in this community.  It’s fantastic!

What great people.  We love the job.  We all do.  What a blessing that is.  A difficult, difficult job and God calls you to it.  And then He gives you a love for it so that a difficult job will be well done.  Isn’t He a wonderful God?  Isn’t He good to you?  To each one of you?  And to me!  Turn to Him each day.  Put your faith and your trust and your hope and your life in His hands, and He’ll take care of you and you’ll have a good life.

And this house will be a great, great blessing to this neighborhood and to this city.

Amen.”

fr judge

Fr. Michael Judge

Chaplan FDNY

EOW 09/11/01

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Be Contagious

We spend our days complaining about how life what isn’t what we expected or how we haven’t reached our expected timeline instead of accepting that, letting it go, and focusing on our dreams.

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I’m too old.

I can’t afford it.

I’m not that smart.

I’m (insert any excuse here).

Life is hard. No one warns you about getting kicked while you’re down or what reality is like when you are young and idealistic. What makes an individual remarkable is that they prevail despite every unfair and awful thing that tries to intervene. If you were dying today, what would you want to leave as your legacy?

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We are all dying right now.  Put aside what you “think” you should be doing and live your passion. Don’t make excuses, just start to do it. Share it  and yourself with others. That is what builds a legacy.

Three responders from my area died in the line of duty this week, all cut down in their prime.  Their lives were electric and touched many people because they loved and were passionate about life. They pursued their dreams and impacted many people on the journey. Their legacies live on in our hearts via their examples of how to live life contagiously well.

If God graces me with another day tomorrow, I hope I can do those legacies justice and celebrate the lives of those individuals by starting to live my life contagiously and stop letting excuses steal my legacy.

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