A blessed 13th Wednesday in Ordinary time to you and your family. I’m Deacon Ken Crawford and this is my 3rd video as a newly ordained deacon. I was ordained 4 days ago on Saturday June 30th at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento, CA. I encourage you to watch the first video in particular talking about my journey and my ordination and then also yesterday’s video.
Yesterday I found myself at the hospital for the 1st time as a deacon. It turns out my grandmother had a somewhat minor heart attack and was taken to the hospital. So I found myself at the hospital. One of the things we did during formation was we did a number of different ministries that are common for deacons to do and so a couple of years ago we had done a year of visiting the sick, bringing communion to the sick and generally being supportive. That was a very good ministry for me. I was someone who was always terrified of the hospital. I had been lucky enough that not a lot of my family members had been sick. I didn’t have a lot of exposure there. To actually get into the hospital; to get in to visiting with people was a great blessing and a period of great growth. Thus actually yesterday I felt very comfortable at the hospital, which was a new thing for me, in the scope of my life anyway.
I ask you all to pray for my grandmother. Her name is Dottie. She herself is a fallen away Catholic. She was raised Catholic; raised her children Catholic; but later in life turned away from the Church. Pray for her health. Pray for her faith. Pray that God’s love and wisdom penetrate her heart.
In any case, when you’re on your way to the hospital, the first thing you do is you grab your ‘Book of Blessings’. My brother who went with me (he’s out visiting from Massachusetts) was laughing that it was in the car when I went and picked him up. (I said) “No, you’ve got to bring the tools of the trade with you.” So, I brought it with me. My very ornery grandmother, when I finally got to the right place to ask her if she would like a blessing… I figured what a great chance to give my first hospital blessing as a deacon, but she tells me, “I’m not sick!” and says that she doesn’t want a blessing. That felt “great”, to have my first attempt at a (hospital) blessing shunned by grandma.
What I did actually is I let the conversation go and then I privately said the prayers of the blessing for her. I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable by forcing it (and I probably could have force the matter and got her to accept it). But clearly she wasn’t all that receptive but I still wanted God’s blessings for her, so I chose to say the prayers privately and very quietly make the sign of the cross in a way that was somewhat subtle. I think God’s blessing would be with her even if she’s not really appreciating what she’s saying no to.
That was the experience for yesterday. Going to the hospital I think is going to be a lot like that throughout ministry. It’s not going to be something (unless I get assigned to a ministry like that) where I’m going to know yesterday that I’m going to be there today. You’re going to be there on short notice, that there’s a parishioner or family member, but as a deacon I’ll be called to be there as often as I can. I of course have to respect the needs of my family and providing for them and all those sorts of things.
It felt very much ‘getting into the ministry’ to go. Obviously I would have gone anyway. It’s my grandmother, I’m going to go visit her in the hospital. There was something about that, that was just a step into ministry. So that was yesterday’s little blessing, a surprise, but God’s grace is in so many things.
Again, I really want to keep these short. I was actually unhappy with how long the first two were. So I’m just going to give you that little anecdote today. I’m going to say:
God bless you to all of you. God bless you to your families. Have a wonderful 4th of July. May our country find it’s way back to the faith that founded it in the sense that we have laws that are just and fair, respect all people, care for all people, love the world, do our best to be a beacon of hope and truth for the world in a way that wants to them to share with us in our joys. So let’s pray for our country this 4th of July. Let’s pray for each other. Pray for my grandmother. Pray for me and my ministry. And I promise I will pray for all of you who are watching and you families.
And God willing, I’ll see you tomorrow.