The joy promised by the Beatitudes is the very joy of Jesus himself: a joy sought and found in obedience to the Father, and in the gift of self to others. (St. John Paul II)
Day 61 of 365.
When I first laid eyes on Paul Lunsford, he was speaking to a group of junior high parents, and my children were all still in grade school. He was not yet an ordained Deacon at that time, but he was a man whose joy for the Lord was manifest in the passion with which he spoke of his mission at Guerin Catholic High School. He was both driven and funny, and his booming voice filled the room. His obvious enthusiasm for Catholic education and our shared faith was contagious.
Deacon Paul is a devoted and loving husband to his faith-filled and terrific wife, Denise, as well as a doting father and grandfather. He’s a quick-witted guy with a self-deprecating sense of humor. If a scoop of vanilla ice cream is good, then Deacon Paul is a chocolate sundae with whipped cream and sprinkles on top. There’s nothing bland about him. He’s courageous, confident and kind. He has a contagious laugh, and when he preaches he uses his smile and warmth to draw folks in with his accessible, articulate style.
True beauty in a human, to me, is about watching someone talk about something they really love with passion in their eyes. Those are the kinds of people who make impossible things happen. Jesus has used this man over and over to be his face and his hands, because what Deacon Paul is passionate about is our Lord and Savior. Isn’t that absolutely awesome?
Deacon Paul? Thank you for the passion and enthusiasm with which you live your life. You are a terrific witness about the fact that while we all struggle and make great sacrifices to accomplish meaningful things in this life, our tireless exertion and passionate concern on behalf of our good and gracious God should be joy-filled tasks that leave us perhaps a little sweaty, but smiling broadly. I am grateful to you for your service to our beloved Church.