God Writes Straight with Crooked Lines

06-17-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

What a great blessing it is for me to be called to serve you here at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel as your pastor at this point in my priestly life. I am convinced that this is not by coincidence, it is by providence. In a month’s time, I will be celebrating my 32nd year of priestly ordination. During these past years, I have no doubt that the Lord has been at work, building, molding, and motivating me just for this moment. While He has done amazing things for me, He has also allowed me to face various challenges over the years in order to purify and strengthen me so that with His help, I may come out a stronger person to serve you. I will share some of these in future articles.

However, the challenges that immediately come to my mind and which inspired the title of this article are both personal and pastoral. At a personal level, many of you will recall that just a few months after I came among you, I began feeling very excruciating and numbing pain on my left arm which eventually resulted into my cervical surgery this past January. The most difficult part of this however, was being confined in my house for over a month with restrictions which stretched my patience to the limit. During that time, I felt a sense of loneliness which I had never felt before. Worse, it was at a time when I was getting to know most of you and enjoy my stay among you. At the parish level, I suspect you also had your own challenges during the significant changes you went through. For instance, you had the transfer of your long-time beloved pastor Fr. John and as you were getting settled in with Fr. Charlie, another change of pastor took place this time with me coming into the picture. How crooked! But like the title of this article says, God always writes straight with crooked lines and certainly He is doing so under these circumstances. I am confident He knows what He is doing!

You see, the thing about God and His writing straight with crooked lines from my experience, is that we have to first turn our crooked lines over to Him and this is not always easy. Sometimes, these crooked lines are our fault, our impatience, our ego, our fears, our distrust and even the bad decisions we make in our lives. Yes, we live with the consequences of our own choices or sinfulness or crookedness. Other times, the crooked lines are not anything we have chosen but have to deal with. But either way, we have to let God in if He is to write straight and often, it is not easy to "let go and let God." Many times, it is even difficult to comprehend that He loves us so much that in taking away something or someone we love, He will give back something still more beautiful. In our case, I am sure the decisions that the bishops took to re-assign your previous pastors and now assign me was not done lightly. They prayed over it, consulted widely before making these pastoral decisions mindful of the needs of our parish at this historical moment. I too had to pray when I was presented with other options of assignment before I could say yes to Mt. Carmel! Yes, God writes straight with crooked lines indeed!

Therefore, as we continue to adjust to these changes over the coming months, let us do so mindful that God is always with us in all of this. He loves us and encourages us to love one another in return and to love particularly those who are different from us. On my part, I ask for your prayers and patience as I will be making some adjustments in order to serve you better and know that we are in this together for the long haul! I will share with you my vision for our parish at an appropriate time. I love you all and I ask you never to postpone your love for me!