Time For A Beard

A thin veil exists between that which is seen and that which cannot be seen. Both are real, of course, but few people are equipped to deal with an unseen world. It requires great faith to live on the other side of the veil. 


We find the Diocese of Charleston, among others, in the world that we can see. In that world, Bishop Robert is preparing to retire as we write this article. Congratulations and our sincere gratitude for a life well lived and a job well done.

Just beyond the veil, there is yet another story taking place. It is occurring in the Chucktown Diocese. That’s where another bishop, Bishop Bob, has just announced his retirement too.

Herman dropped by Bishop Bob’s study inside the Cathedral recently after learning that his bishop was retiring. Canon law requires bishops to submit a letter of retirement when they turn 75. Bishop Bob’s big day had arrived, and Pope Francis had accepted his letter.


The Bible tells us there is a time for everything (Eccl 3:1-8). When things happen in the fullness of time (Gal 4:4-7), they usually go pretty smoothly. That’s because God has prepared the things around us for just the right moment.


Bishop Bob had an interesting perspective on this big moment in his life. He would grow a beard and live more as a contemplative. As if Herman believed one needed a beard to contemplate the great things of life, he asked his friend why he had not started growing a beard sooner.

Bishop Bob understood his friend’s intentions, even if the question was rather awkward. He had often been too busy with the practical side of being a bishop to address the philosophical aspects of his life. But now, in this special season, Bishop Bob would have time to discern the true meaning of the many happenstances and circumstances which defined his life. This was his moment to learn what his life had actually been all about.

One of the great joys in living a long life is coming to the realization of what it was actually all about. Vision is grand because it carries us forward and fuels the journey. Reflection, however, the cousin of vision, introduces us to the treasures that actually graced our journey. 

It was now Bishop Bob’s time to learn how to live on both sides of that thin veil. Now was his time to contemplate a life remembered. This was a grand moment in a very good life.


That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. It’s cool to be Catholic.

In Christ.

EDITORS’NOTE: This article appeared previously in the Catholic Roads blog (catholicroads.org).

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