Too Close for Comfort

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Twice a year, the Diocese offers conferences and workshops for the priests who minister here in Rockville Centre.  While the Bishop does not make these days of professional development and renewal mandatory, it is his fervent hope that the priests avail themselves of such grace filled opportunities, and so, last Wednesday, I travel led to Huntington for an afternoon and evening of reflection of the MERCY OF GOD.  It was appropriate that the Diocese offer this to its priests since we are celebrating the Year of Mercy as proclaimed by our Holy Father Pope Francis.  Perhaps there are some that may say, “That’s all I have heard from Priests, Deacons, Bishops and even the Holy Father this year!”   Well, maybe that is because we need to keep hearing it so we can not only practice the virtue of mercy but also be very aware of how God is indeed, merciful to us!

The theme of the day was titled The Priest Recipient of God’s Mercy and Minister of God’s Mercy.  Notice, I purposely highlighted the word recipient and that it is mentioned first in the statement with the word minister being mentioned second.  There is a reason why recipient is not only highlighted, but in italics as well.  The speaker for the day was Bishop Gregory Mansour, Bishop of the St. Maron Eparchy of Brooklyn and he made great effort to explain why recipient was mentioned first in the topic of the conference.  Simply put, he said, “in order to be good ministers of mercy, we first must come to know that we have been the recipients of God’s mercy.”  That is certainly very true, and it does not just apply to the ordained clergy, but to all people.

All of you who live in this area are familiar with the intersection of Sea Cliff Avenue and Glen Cove Avenue by North Shore Farms.  It is a rather oddly positioned intersection, as one simply cannot drive straight across it; the driver must veer slightly to the right In order to pass straight over Glen Cove Avenue and so, the day after the conference, I was driving west along Sea Cliff Avenue and came to the traffic light by North Shore Farms; it was red and obviously I stopped.  Since I was travelling west, I pulled up in the right hand lane, and next to me an 18 wheeler truck pulled up to turn left; he even had his left signal direction blinking!  When the light turned green; he began to maneuver the truck to the right, and all of a sudden the rear end of the truck was millimeters from my Toyota Rav 4. When I say the rear part of his truck was literally alongside my rolled down window, I AM NOT KIDDING!  I honked my horn violently and thought he cannot see or hear me; I think I am in his blind spot.  Fortunately I was able to back up slightly and make clearance for him.  Then to my surprise he actually turned left, not right!

I must say I was rather angry, but then I became afraid, as after he turned right he pulled his truck over, and came rushing toward my car.  (The traffic light turned red again, before I could get out of there, but it was DIVINE PROVINCE that I wait for another green light).  The man was running towards me and I thought he is going to provoke an argument, but nothing of that sort ensued!  He asked me if I was the car honking at him, and I said, “YES.”  He wanted to know was I okay, and then explained about an oncoming truck moving straight toward him and how he was forced to veer slightly to the right.  Then he even thanked me for using my horn because he had no idea I was alongside of him.  I thanked him for his concern and told him that I was okay and he did not touch my car or me.

Upon my arrival back to the rectory I thought someone was watching over the both of us today.  That someone was the mercy of God.  That man could have screamed and yelled at me for being in his blind spot (and I realize I was, but that was because the traffic light changed to green; he had his right directional blinking and the car in front of me began moving, so I began moving), but the driver of the truck did not know that.  Truck drivers have great challenges driving here on Long Island and my uncle is a retired “big rig” truck driver, and so I know firsthand of the difficulties of handling them here in congested and narrow streets.  Believe it or not I was incredibly calm as well; I simply apologized and said I understood.

I thought about the Bishop’s talk the day before, and how God was there with that truck driver and me, and by God’s grace we were both okay; our vehicles were not damaged and most of all we both managed to understand the other’s point of view and position. In order to be merciful we first must realize we have been the beneficiaries of perfect mercy, DIVINE MERCY.

Fr. Kevin’s letter appears each week in print and online in the St. Boniface Martyr Parish Bulletin.


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