Mad for…Andreas

Faith can move mountains. (Mt. 17:20)

There is no human I have ever encountered with a stomach which is made of quite the same stuff as this man. It’s possible his is made of steel, or some other such impervious material. It seems no matter what kind of leftovers, he’s incapable of being injured or impaired by their consumption. We’ve even joked when we’re well past the appropriate time to clear out the fridge that it’s contents would now not even pass the “Uncle Andreas” test. If he wouldn’t eat them, you see, then no one else should try…ha?

Truth be told, Andreas Sashegyi is simply not a wasteful human. He doesn’t like to throw things away which are still of some value– and that’s a laudable thing. Andreas is married to my sister-in-law, Mary Jo (Thieme) Sashegyi. Together, they have one son, Thomas, who will turn 12 years old this week. They live in downtown Indianapolis where he works for Eli Lilly. Andreas is Canadian, and he spent his formative years there. However, when people ask me about him, I usually describe him as German. He’s certainly culturally so, and he speaks both English and German quite well. I’m not sure what other languages he’s comfortable with, but he’s an extremely bright guy with excellent language skills.

He’s pictured here in a photo with Mary Jo and Thomas. This photo is a few years old, but in it the three of them look happy and full of joy and I’ve always liked it, so I hope they won’t mind me sharing it here.

As a biker, Andreas is fearless. Frankly, he has kind of scared me with his biking adventures over the years, and I’ve several times found myself not just a little anxious as he describes his long rides on busy roads and highways. He’s also a talented artist and a lover of good books and music.

What most defines Andreas for me, though, is his genuine devotion to his faith. He is both knowledgeable and engaged as a Catholic– a man of God for sure. He’s incredibly generous and charitable to his parish and community– in both time and resources. It’s inspiring and a lovely example to others. We joke behind his back a little about his affection for lighting “fellowship candles”, but the truth is he’s motivated by his interest in gathering together to share around a table– stories, food and laughter. Those are beautiful things.

So today, as we really enter into the season of Advent and inch closer to Christmas, I wanted to give Andreas a little shout out and share with you all this little tidbit I jotted down a while back in honor of my smarty pants brother-in-law. I believe the quote is from His Eminence’s book A Moment of Grace and it recalled an encounter he had in a confessional just before Advent was to begin. I thought it was beautiful and appropriate to share.

“Now is a moment of grace. Something big is about to happen; something very big. And it’s going to happen to you. We are about to begin Advent. God has become incarnate in the human condition, for you, personally for you. God has become a little baby in the middle of the sins you have just told me about. You have reason for new and wonderful hope.

What better gift could we give ourselves and our loved ones than to become more Christian, more loving, more Christ-like, that is to say, to give Him permission, as Mother Teresa once suggested, to work within us? What better gift to present to the little baby in that stable in a grotto outside of Bethlehem.

AMEN, Cardinal O’Connor…and thanks for being you, Andreas. I’m overdue to tell you that I notice so many lovely things about you, and I’m thankful to call you family. Happy Advent!!

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