“Even in the worst situation of life, God waits for me, God wants to embrace me, God expects me.”

Pope Francis

I can’t remember the context, but a few years ago when my wife and I had some quiet time together she asked me what I wanted my epitaph to be. I remember thinking it was a strange and morbid question and then I remember remembering that my wife is Irish and it all made sense. My answer was, "He got people what they needed." As usual, she corrected my grammar and called me boring. My whole life I have been a doer and hopefully I’ve tried to be a good doer. I strive to get people what they need, oftentimes to a fault. As we have begun this brain cancer journey with Peter, one of the hardest things in these first two weeks has been not being able to do anything when all I am desperate to do is something. I can’t make it go away. I can’t shield him from the treatment road he will need follow. At seven, I can hardly lift him without someone helping me. I can’t make his sisters not afraid and it breaks my heart because I’m the person who gets people what they need.

As we approached Christmas Eve in the hospital, a social worker invited me to her office. She asked what Peter wanted for Christmas and I shared that we were ahead of schedule this year and we had bought everything already. She pressed me to find out what he liked and then asked what his sisters liked. "We’ll get some presents for all of them. Just jot down some ideas on this form." As I looked over the form, I thanked her and told her that we were okay financially and that we probably wouldn’t qualify. The social worker looked at me and said, "Mr. Cellucci, you don’t need to do anything to qualify for the love people want to give." I began to cry. She knelt down next to me, handed me some tissues and said, "Mr. Cellucci, just say yes." As I nodded, she asked me to verify my catholicleaders.org email address and looking at it, she whispered, "I’m probably not supposed to say this, but judging by your email address, you might know a little something about sacrificial love we don’t need to earn."

As people of faith, we so often brace ourselves to say yes to the crosses that come our way, but are we as ready to accept the Simons that the Lord sends our way to help carry those crosses? Do I define myself by how much I can do or how much God can do for me? In this season of Christmas we often hear "tis better to give," but perhaps the goal we should all have for our epitaphs is that we were humble enough to let ourselves be loved and receive all the graces God sends our way every single day. Prayers that you recognize every blessing in 2021.

by Daniel Cellucci

December 29, 2020

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