This is my Beloved Son…

11 years ago today. I was just entering seminary, fresh out of high school. The annual retreat of the seminarians of the diocese had just finished and we, seminarians, were leading a day-retreat of other young men interested in the diocesan priesthood. It was a long and tiring day. I was driving home on a very routine drive and I was nearly home.

I turned onto the street leading to my neighborhood and my windows were down on my car. These two motorcycles sped pass me — a couple was on one and a man was on the other. He was leading their little pack and they continually increased their speed. My routine drive was shaken when I heard a loud bang as the young man crashed into the side of an SUV with four passengers who didn’t see him coming. He was between his motorcycle and the SUV. I had to give my shirt, for his head to be wrapped. I asked if a priest was needed. I called the young priest from my parish who came quickly as the parish was less than a mile away.

Two friends came from a house nearby and we began to pray the Rosary for this man and watched a priest who normally didn’t walk well come onto the scene and minister to the dying man as the helicopter came to take him to the hospital. It was the fastest Rosary I had ever prayed and it almost felt time had stopped as I watched the priest, seemingly unhindered by his typical physical ailments, take care of this young man.

The man didn’t survive.

Oddly, it was a grace to witness the action of a priest in a tragic situation. Every time I pass the spot in my car I am reminded of the young man, and I recall the mystery of the Transfiguration. It is now a Feast for me where I know Our Lord wants to communicate more profoundly His words that came from the cloud when Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John:

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.

Matthew 17:5

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