“But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus” – Luke 5:17-26

After living most of his life a contented bachelor, my Dad at age 48 was lovestruck by a beautiful Protestant woman. He quickly realized he wanted to marry her but gave her the condition that she must first convert to Catholicism. My mom quickly complied and became the wife of a proud Irish Catholic man! Two children quickly followed, and we were blessed to be educated in Catholic schools. While my dad had the Catholic education, ritual, tradition and faith, my mother it turns out more profoundly influenced my faith. Throughout her life, by word, action and practice, she carried my sister and me “up on the roof and… into the middle in front of Jesus.”

The above excerpt from Luke describes friends bringing a paralyzed man to Jesus in search of a miracle. Because of the people crowding Jesus, the man’s companions go to great lengths to get the man “in front of” Jesus. They climb a roof and are forced to lower him through ceiling tiles to be seen by Jesus. Jesus praises the men for their faith and cures the paralytic.

Who are the people in your life who, because of their faith, have carried you up a roof and put you in front of Jesus? Who has gone to great personal effort and sacrifice to help you see Jesus? Perhaps it was a beloved Xaverian Brother, a teacher or a coach. Perhaps this Advent season is a good time to thank them for carrying you on the journey. It also may be an opportune time to reflect upon who we can inspire with zeal and lift during this holy season. Could it be a family member, student or fellow Board member who needs to be shown the love and joy of this season? The Xaverian value of compassion calls us to “…look at life through the eyes of Christ, to accompany them…,” just like the friends of the paralyzed man.

Loving Jesus, during this hopeful Advent season, help us to carry others front and center to You. May we be evangelists whose words and deeds draw others to our faith. May we also be mindful and thankful of those on our journey who have personally sacrificed to lift us before You. Amen.

Ellen Ciampi

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