November 7, 2014

When A Friend Dies, His Memory Remains Alive In Our Souls

Nota - Este artículo es disponible en español aquí.

Our Episcopal communities in Eastern Massachusetts, along with the entire Episcopal Church, recently lost one of its most beloved bishops. 

Bishop Marvil Thomas, “Tom” Shaw III, was elected diocesan bishop in 1994, a year in which the Massachusetts diocese was going through a difficult time of loss, sadness, and confusion. The arrival of this monk, belonging to the religious order of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, immediately felt like a gift of divine grace. A gift that initiated a lengthy and complicated process of forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing; something felt in the hearts of thousands of Episcopalians who had been profoundly affected by the suicide of his predecessor. 

Shaw’s legacy is immense. The spiritual nourishment that he shared with us was primordial. When listening to his meditations and sermons, most of which stemmed from not only his daily routine of fervently praying on his knees in his tiny cell and reading in predawn silence, but also from his fostering of new programs and legislation aimed at social change. His insights came from listening with an open and compassionate heart to the needs, dreams, and wishes of the diverse congregations and missions he routinely visited as pastor. 

When we listened to his sermons we always felt that we were being taken by the hand to joyfully praise and deeply meditate on a God that is all love and ever-present, a God who never tires of calling us to walk by His side—inspiring us and nourishing the passion and strength needed in the struggle for justice and peace. Without forcing us to do it, Tom inspired us to discover our own treasure in the routine of exploring prayer and reading, if not before dawn, at least before starting our daily chores. He taught us to start each day in meditation, constantly remaining in prayer, in a thousand different ways about everything that crossed our paths. 
During the twenty years of his episcopacy among us Tom was also a prophetic and strong voice that transcended our borders carrying not only the messages of the urgent needs of our local communities, but also the need to initiate dialogue within our Anglican community regarding countries submerged in conflict and violent wars. 

Inspired by his urgent message, and often with his financial support—using money obtained from fundraising campaigns—Tom managed to establish programs that to this day continue to open paths to education, community leadership, and the possibility of thousands of Latino families to realize their dreams for their sons and daughters.

Rest in peace dear Tom. You taught us to love God through loving all those whom we encounter. You taught us the best way to serve the public is as Christ did, with love and humility. You taught us to celebrate our fulfilled dreams and to never rest until the dreams of our communities have been fulfilled. You will live forever in our love. 

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