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Fr. Kermit M. Holl, osc

Fr. Kermit M. Holl, osc

Fr. Kermit Holl, osc, is the prior of the Crosier Community of Phoenix.

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I’ve never been to the Garden of Eden, that pristine place of paradise where our human story began in God’s generous love of creation--but I’ve been close. Indeed, over the last decade, I was privileged a number of times to make the long journey to the village of Agats in Asmat to assist in leadership work there. And one of the impressive realities that struck me in the heart of that jungle is how it simply encompasses everything as far as the eye can see, and so a connection to some remembrance of the Garden of Eden as the place where God walked upon the earth cannot be ignored. Truly, the jungle of Asmat is large enough still to carry the footsteps of God, just as the expanse of the creation story we heard from the Book of Genesis yet gives plenty of room for our reimagining this immense act of God so as to catch our attention once again. 

And it was in this jungle--we know so well, it was in this vast jungle of Asmat that our Br. Clarence found his home. It was in this vast jungle of Asmat that our Br. Clarence found an intimacy of heart with God and with God’s beloved Asmat people living in that place descendant of the Garden of Eden.  

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It may not surprise you to hear that I was at least tempted to select the genealogy narrative from the Gospel of Matthew for Br. Roman’s funeral, but since it is only about “begetting” in the Davidic line and not about second-cousins and thrice-removals, I decided that it wasn’t quite up to the full detailed standards that Roman had held for all such things relative. 

Instead, we hear the Gospel from Luke which relates Jesus’ teaching on prayer to his disciples. Taking a page from human experience about the persistent “asker” in the middle of the night, Jesus says that the heavenly Father will also likewise give way to those who persistently “ask and knock.”  Probably most of us knew Br. Roman as such a persistent prayer. He would offer prayers and ask for prayers with deep compassion and deep faith at almost every turn—whether as Apostolate or alumni director, or in his own personal ministry of constantly holding people and their needs before the Lord. 

Though unknown to us yet are the results of Roman’s prayer for ourselves or for others, he now gets to behold these truths with the angelic pristine vision of the elect in heaven--he gets to see the actual answer to Jesus’ long ago question, “If you, with all your sins, know how to give your children good things, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?”  Roman gets to see these promises of God fulfilled—for both himself and for all those whom he presented to the Lord in his prayers of 90 years.

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