Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering a fallen father

The "F.D.N.Y. CHAPLAIN" in reflecting yellow letters on the back of Father Mychal Judge's turnout coat marked him as one figure unburdened of even the expectation that he dash into danger. He could have just stayed at the staging across from the tower with nobody thinking less of him.

For Judge to have let his fear rule him would have been to shrink before a challenge to all decent people, to have let evil win. He moved with the firefighters, his black lace-up shoes in pace with the fire boots across the field of carnage, crunching on the broken glass and skirting the fresh red splatters.

He admired nobody more than those who saved lives, and on other days when firefighters died, he declared their firehouses holy ground, their spirits alive anew with every alarm. In the aftermath of this fire unlike any other, his own spirit would join with theirs to be more powerful than anyone could have imagined and, for a brief time, anyway, defeat the evil and affirm all he believed. Those who loved him would remember what he often said of his most passionate love, who was neither man nor woman yet both.

"My God is the God of Surprises."

A tower of strength


CJ said...

God bless him. What a remarkable example of courage and selflessness in time of need. He gave his life for the people he loved the most.


Ridgewoodian said...

If you haven't seen it, The Saint of 9/11 is magnificent and well worth a view.

jmKelley said...

Even prior to his heroic death on 9/11, Father Mychal Judge was widely seen by many New Yorkers as a living saint for his deep spirituality and his extraordinary work not only with firefighters -- but with the homeless, recovering alcoholics, people with AIDS, immigrants, gays and lesbians, and others rejected by society.

This often annoyed the diocesan hierarchy. But like his spiritual father St. Francis of Assisi, Mychal reported directly to a Higher Authority, as evidenced by several medically documented, miraculous healings through him.


Here’s the last Homily he gave, on Sept. 10, 2001, at a Mass for firefighters, but it's really a call to all of us --

“You do what God has called you to do.
You go out and do the job.
No matter how big the call, no matter how small,
you have no idea of what God is calling you to, but
God needs you. He needs me. He needs all of us.
God needs us to keep supporting each other,
to be kind to each other, to love each other….

“We love this job, we all do. What a blessing it is !
It’s a difficult, difficult job, but God calls you to do it,
and indeed, He gives you a love for it
so that a difficult job will be well done.

“Isn’t God wonderful ?!
Isn’t He good to you, to each one of you, and to me ?
Turn to God each day --
put your faith, your trust, your hope and your life in His hands.
He’ll take care of you and you’ll have a good life.
And this firehouse will be a great blessing
to this neighborhood and to this city.

Father Mychal, pray for us.

Anonymous said...

The Saint of 9/11 is an excellent film. Brendan Fay, a friend of Father Mychal Judge and an Astoria resident, was co-producer.