Posted by: Peadar Ban | November 6, 2011

How Much He Loves Me

Mariellen is downstairs, now, playing the piano.  She’s playing Christmas carols she is thinking of using for our little group’s pre-Christmas Eve Mass concert at St. John the Evangelist Church in Hudson, NH.  The day is slowing down.  The last few minutes of our storm delayed Trick-or-Treat period tick away quietly.  The Princesses and Princes, the Space Cowboys and Witches, the Dogs and Cats, and Cat-Dogs and all the others seem to have gone.

Earlier today, this morning after Mass, I had done the last of the cleaning up I could do of the downed limbs and leaves from the storm.  Then I came inside and lit the first fire while the sun, at last returned to its rightful Eastern Standard place in the day, set at the decent hour of 5:00pm.  Mariellen prepared a lovely soup of white beans and spinach using some of our own vegetable stock and our own herbs.

While we waited for the soup to finish, I snacked on a delicious raw milk cheddar and drank some kombucha.  Writing in a little note book some memories of our latest trip to Ireland, sitting by the fire and listening to a Bach cantata in our cozy library I was suddenly filled with a tremendous sense of gratitude for the wonderful life God has given me. “I feel so very happy being right here,” I said.  “I like the way you look sitting there writing by the fire, being happy in your blue sweater,” she answered with a big smile.

I felt a need to thank all of the people who made my being here possible, and began to call them to mind, inwardly to thank them for the good they had done for me.  When I think that only two generations ago in my family my grandparents in Ireland lived on not much more than oatmeal and milk and potatoes, and my grandparents in America lived in tenement squalor in the notorious Five Corners of NYC, I am made not a little humble.  Who am I to take this all for granted, to think that I have earned it?

I thank them, then, my grandparents, the  peasants and the street urchins, and my parents, a mailman father and stenographer mother with grade school educations who worked and worried and died having seen me on my way.  I thank the nuns and brothers who taught me of the wide world and deep.  I thank the people and the City where I grew up with the whole world a ten cent subway ride away.  I thank the guys I knew and know, diamonds all rough and cut, polished somewhat, but not so that I’d be embarrassed to be in their company.

I thank the two women God graced my life with, the one who “trained” me over 34 years, and taught me what was the meaning of love and the one who has tolerated my craziness these past 11 years, who continues the lessons in how to love every day we are together; my est friend, my constant support.  I thank my own children and grandchildren who bring me joy, and brought me sorrow and taught me that I am not who I thought I should be, and tried to be and often failed.

But most of all I thank God, my Father, whose tolerance of my countless faults and failings amazes me and humbles me; especially at times like these when I am allowed to realize that everything, absolutely everything, has been His gift to me; that all He wants me to know is how much He loves me.


  1. Our lives are all grand opporunties for love,praise and gratitude. The small splinters in others eyes are grand opportunities to see our own logs!WHat A discrace I have been to forfeit these opporunitties to grow in greater union with God our Father!

  2. Yes, and He does love you….as do many many others.

    • Thank you, Mary Lou, and bless your heart.

  3. amen! so true! hope you endured the storm with less
    trouble than we did! yikes! Im thankful for lights and warmth!

    • We had a short trip to the 18th Century, and are happy to be back here in the 21st. Though there’s a lot to be said for silence.

  4. Peter, in my first days in New York, the subway was a nickel.

    You must be careful of the great temptation which Mephistopheles put before Faust: to become so attached to a moment in the world as to say “Tarry a while, thou art so fair”. Temptation comes in many forms. We are not meant for this world.

    • It was still a bargain at a dime, Gabriel. And, I do understand your cautionary advice, and thank you for it..

    • It may have been a bargain at a nickel but for many poor people, stuck with having to use the subways, it was yet another blow at their tiny budgets.

  5. Very nice.

    • Thank you. It is nice of you to say so.


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