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Jesus Of Nazareth

The Raising of Lazarus by Carl Heinrich Bloch Picture via Wikipedia Would a wimpy God be able to raise a dead man to life?

The Raising of Lazarus by Carl Heinrich Bloch
Picture via Wikipedia
Would a wimpy God be able to raise a dead man to life?

Father William O’Malley, a Jesuit, taught religion to High School seniors for twenty years. “In that time”, he writes, “I have read 80,000 pages of students’ reflections on God. Recently one senior summed up what many others have hinted at by writing, ‘I had the assumption that I could treat God like a wimp, as I can do whatever I like. He will forget about it, no matter how I really feel. It’s impossible to have a real relationship with a wimpy God.’”

This poor picturing of Christ may explain why many, especially young people, turn away from Jesus of Nazareth. They want to look for a challenge from the Christ of the Gospels, not a Charlie Milquetoast whom everyone can push around and intimidate.

One of two priests who influenced me the most in my years of Seminary training happened to be a slightly built man, a low key type. When I first met Monsignor Reynold Hillenbrand in September of 1938, he was the Rector of the Major Seminary at Mundelein, Illinois, just 36 years old.

For the next six years I came to know him as a person who showed me by his personal example what ideals a priest could have. In preaching he closed his eyes and never raised his voice. We seminarians sat on the edge of our seats so that we wouldn’t miss a word he said.

Looking quickly at him, people might have thought the Rector a “push over”, an easy mark to fool, even wimpy because of his lack of machismo. On the contrary, “Hilly”, as we called him, proved himself a man’s man, filled with a fierce determination to spread the Kingdom of God on earth, a person in close union with God through prayer.

People evaluating Christ could misread His gentleness and kindness as signs of a wimp. In His spirit of forgiveness they would say that He is a spineless Person. How wrong they could be! Christ, with His low key style, soft spoken manner, can alter drastically the life of anyone who gives time to His friendship and company.

As no one else did, in his time “Hilly”, now deceased since 1979, influenced the hearts of hundreds of priests, especially in terms of a rich prayer life. I have thought of him at least once a week since 1938.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

April 5, 2014 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , ,


  1. Hi Fr. George! Thank you for another wonderful post. If you read this today or tomorrow, would you say a prayer for my mother’s soul – tomorrow (4/6) it will be one year since her passing. I have requested a Mass for her at my local parish tomorrow. She has been on my mind a lot this week – the one year anniversary of her final week on earth. I was SO blessed to be with her for her final weeks. I had the great fortune of spending the night with her before she died, singing and playing her favorite songs, saying so many prayers for her. I was not there when she took her final breath – maybe she wanted it that way. She will always be close in my heart. Love you, Fr. George, praying for you daily!


    Comment by nancywest22 | April 5, 2014 | Reply

  2. Just as Monsignor “Hilly”…influenced you Fr. George, and all the other priests that “Hilly” taught…all of you have shared that faith and wisdom with us, His sheep! In so many ways, we too, have been “instructed” by him through the priests he taught, especially you, Fr. George! Thank you for teaching us and showing us how to live in this life as we prepare for eternal life with the Risen Christ…Easter Blessings with gratitude and love…for all you do! Marianne

    Comment by mcs | April 5, 2014 | Reply

  3. Fr. George. I think a lot of ” Hilly” rubbed off on you. Our nickname for you was “Soft George”. We saw a man, a priest, who was a model of Jesus to us. We did not think you were a wimp. On the contrary, we saw the strength of your faith in your conviction by the way you lived.
    Bud Weston

    Comment by Anonymous | April 6, 2014 | Reply

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