09 Jun Adiós Alvarez
One year ago I received a huge blessing from God. Adam Gase became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins…AND a great and holy family came to join us in ministry on the reservation, the Alvarez family.
People outside of the reservation often tell Laura and I how inspired they are by our choice to leave Denver to come to the middle of nowhere Montana and serve those that are marginalized. But, after living with the Alvarez family for a year, every time this happens I say, “No, what Laura and I did is not that great. This family that we are working with, they are the inspiration!” This is no act of humility on our part it’s just the Truth with a capital T. Laura and I have no children of our own (feel free to pray for a change in that) and this reality makes it easier for us to do some radical things for Christ. Odilio and Stacie brought SEVEN children with them and still choose to live in relative poverty and minister to a people that are often forgotten.
The Alvarez family is a REAL and VISIBLE sign of Christ in this world and a real and visible sign of the kind of sacrifice that all of us could make if we only had the requisite trust in the providence of God. I have often talked about how one of the greatest needs in the Church is for average lay people, especially families to understand that they too must live out the Evangelical Counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience in a way that is fitting for their vocation in order to be as Christ like as possible. To be an authentic light of God to a material world and the Alvarez family is a living testament to the Truth that can be done and that fruit is born of such sacrifice.
To me, they are living Saints.
And yes, no saint is perfect as no family is perfect, but a saintly family is not a home absent of problems and conflict it’s a home that handles them with Love and understanding. I hope when you look at a family like the Alvarez family that you are at least made a little bit uncomfortable. That you might ask yourself the question, “what more could I give?” I certainly have.
So to the Alvarez family, from the bottom of my heart I thank you. I thank you for your love of Christ and His church. I thank you for your friendship, love and support. And while I wish I was wealthy enough to send you all on a expensive vacation for some much needed R&R after living in such desolation, my love, prayers and this blog will have to do. In my high school year book each senior was to write a kind of fake will and testament to people that had inspired them, I thought it would be fun to will each of you something here, so without further ado:
To Odilio, I will Sunday nights cheering on our teams, a real football team, domestic beer, one more trip to Havre and the greatest compliment I can give another man…If I had to go to war, I would want you by my side.
To Stacie, I will acceptance into Hogwarts school and martyrdom 😉 lol. A much deserved weekend of spa treatments and tea with friends you love, a good book and the continued gifts of the Holy Spirit and a warm hug from our mutual Father in heaven.
To Meredith, I will a release from the $57 you owe me, ears attuned to always hear the symphony of our Lord and the heart to let it move you into action. A future man friend whom you will talk under the stars with about life, love, and God. And still quiet moments where you can literally feel His presence.
To Abram, I will you the courage to always speak your mind, hands like Bryant, a heart like a priest, a cassock that fits and the greatest compliment I could give a young man…there is not a single doubt in my heart that you sir, will grow into a great man, a man that will lead many others to our Father in heaven.
To Samuel, I will camera equipment fit to your talents, a meeting with Stephen Spielberg, moonwalks and dancing when no one is looking and the ability to boldly go where no man has gone before in a galaxy far, far away, getting to 5’9”, future movie premiers and a lovely gluten free cheese pizza all for you, you filthy animal.
To Vincent, I will kung-fu lessons and the speed of the Flash that will lead you to take down each of your older brothers, the heart and strength of St. Ignatius and a future career worthy of your energy!
To Julian, I will an empire of Legos, more movie roles, beating Vincent in wrestling, serving along with your brothers, a smile on your face, the future Papacy of Pope William and the Loving leading of his heavenly Father.
To Josephine, I will dance parties in beautiful dresses, a cat of your own, taking the spotlight from Xavier from time to time, the protection of all your brothers and the guidance of your older sisters.
To Xavier, I will my last container of mustard, a guitar for all his future songs, bad guys shush, an infinite supply of La Croix and all the love and attention that comes along with being the baby of a large family.