“In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.” (1 John 4:9)
I must confess, that when I read the above passage, I don’t get very excited. I don’t feel affirmed or want to change my way of living. Maybe I’ve heard it too often, I don’t know.
Last Friday after wrangling with myself for some time, and realizing I really had nothing better to do, I decided to see “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” a Sony Pictures movie currently at the theaters telling the story of Fred Rogers. I didn’t think I’d learn anything new or get any new insights into Fred Rogers. While I’ve never watched him on TV, I’ve heard and read much about him over the years.
Wow! What a surprise when I found myself crying and being moved watching Tom Hanks (Fred) bring to life Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) a writer for Esquire who in some ways resembled my own life’s experience. I left the theater, grateful that the Spirit moved me to go and experience this, yet another take on a person some might call a saint. Actually, Vogel suggests this to Roger’s wife, (Susan Kelechi Watson) who responds: “Please don’t do that.” She insists he is just like you and me, and if we want, we can live our lives just like him. What a challenge, to live my life just like Fred Rogers.
Maybe I can substitute “Fred” for “his only-begotten Son” in this passage. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent Fred Rogers into the world so that we might have life.
I hope and pray that when I’m gone people will be able to say: “In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent Dan into the world so that we might have life.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.