I was absolutely desperate for this weekend. Abbeyfest is an outdoor Catholic faith and music festival that has been attracting thousands of people from the area for the past couple of years with awesome musicians, wonderful speakers, and an undeniable awareness of the Holy Spirit. The festival concludes with candlelit adoration in this massive field, a moment which has more than once brought me to tears. Last year, the younger two (Peter, age 4 and Norah, age crazy) had prevented us from staying until the end. I was really frustrated. This year, I had my plan of attack. Especially given the last six weeks, I was determined not to miss my moment of inspiration. I organized a drive-by pick up of Peter and Norah by my parents following Mass so that the rest of us could enjoy what I have found to be the most impactful part of the day. Peter was sad he would not be able to stay for the whole time, but we somewhat convinced him it would be more fun to play with Nanny and Pop-Pop.
As has been the custom at Abbeyfest, toward the end of Mass, they invite all the young women and men who might be considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life to come forward for a blessing. Worrying about the time, I looked at my phone to see how much longer until I could dispense of my fatherly duties and just enjoy the day. Suddenly, Tricia hit my arm and told me to go get Peter. “Where is he?” I asked only imagining what he might be into. She pointed smiling as little Peter was halfway down the aisle walking next to high school guys three times his size. I hurried down to meet him and he waved me off reminding me, “You’re already a dad. This is for guys who might want to be priests.” I stood back. As his eyes looked up to heaven and on the priest bestowing his blessing, my eyes were fixed on Peter. What I was about to ship off in order to find my inspiration, was in fact the inspiration I needed all along, in front of me, every day. I could not help but think of the meaning of his name and the promise of our Lord – “upon this rock, I will build my Church.” In these moments, where we may be tempted to be “robbed of hope,” let us follow those unlikely sources of inspiration, like Peter, who keep moving forward with their eyes fixed on heaven.