When I was in grade school, months seemed like eons. Time passed so slowly while we were in school, but at the end of May or beginning of June – then began summer vacation! The delicious hours walking through the fields behind our house searching for black raspberries, some cool sparkly rock, or squirmy salamanders. The daylight was certainly longer in those summer months. The luxury of time stretched to infinity. That was how I viewed time as a young person.
I suspect that for most of our Jubilarians, time passes rather quickly now. We get engrossed in our Franciscan life, doing the many things that need to be done: prayer; tasks to accomplish “for the Kingdom”; hours of listening to broken hearts; healing words; cooking; sweeping floors; and a thousand other details on our To Do lists. All of the sudden we look up, and it’s time to celebrate a Jubilee. Each year in our lives is precious. But Jubilees stand as a milestone, a remembrance, a celebration – not so much about what we have done, but how God, Whom we love, has used us as Instruments. Looking back, it is amazing what God has done.
Last year our senior Jubilarian was Cyprian Berens. I thanked him at his Jubilee for the many “yeses” of assent he had given to God over his 75 years of Franciscan profession. This year he will celebrate God’s goodness in the Arms of God, as he died on Monday, May 13. Cyprian said yes many times: working in the General Curia; giving God’s Mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation at St. John Lateran; becoming our Communications Director during the 1970s; serving as a pastor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan; and finally as a chaplain, then resident, at Little Sisters of the Poor in Cincinnati. May Cyp enjoy his endless Jubilee, like kids in summer, in the eternal summer of God’s Kingdom.
This time of year, we can all look back and see what God has done. We are grateful. What is on your “bucket list”? What stops you from taking the next risk on the adventure of life?
(Fr. Mark is Provincial Minister for St. John the Baptist Province.)