Friday was a special day for Orlando. I’m not referring to the city, but rather to our beloved colleague at Catholic Leadership Institute. On Thursday, during our daily community prayer, Orlando shared with us that the next day, he and his wife would take their official oath to become citizens of the United States of America. Orlando is a humble, peaceful, and professional individual that I am pleased to know. Many of us had no idea he was working toward this goal, but as he led our community prayer, it was clear not only how much this milestone meant to him, but also how much the journey shaped him. As Orlando spoke of his reliance on the Blessed Mother and gave thanks to God for the gift to be in this great country, my eyes began to swell. Beyond my obvious joy for how happy he was, it struck me that Orlando has always been a person who embodies the qualities I consider to be the best of our country – integrity, hard work, persistence, and generosity.
What made Orlando’s oath so moving was that it was clear how much it meant to him, as evidence by how he already lives it. His declaration is a confirmation of a life lived purposefully. I couldn’t help but wonder how being born in this country and into this faith might allow me to take both for granted. Do I “live the encounter with Jesus"? Am I turned “inside out by Grace every day” or is my oath to God and country full of words alone? America may have a new citizen as of Friday and we continue to have a role model in Orlando. May we live lives worthy of the baptismal promises we have made and we will renew in a few short weeks. God bless America and God bless Orlando!