Definition of Renaissance man

a person who has wide interests and is expert in several areas

Ever know one of these? I have – still do. The man I am referring to this morning is an athlete (although some would argue bowling is not a sport), engineer, carpenter, gardener, coach, referee, Deacon, Father, Educator, Artist, Smoker (of meats – not tobacco), camper (now turned glampber), Husband and the most important – my brother in law. I am speaking of none other than Brett LePage.

I met Brett way back in 1978 when he started dating Janice’ (my sister will correct me if I’m wrong) and I believe they met through my Uncle Bob (Fr. Dorhauer), who was a priest in Brett’s parish at the time. Brett is good for my sister and you could see from the start, that they were put here on earth to be with each other “till death do they part”. Sunday dinners were the most important meal of the week and only important dignitaries were invited on that day to break bread with the family – Grandma’s, Grandpa’s, Aunt’s, Uncle’s. Let me give you an example of how important that meal was. The phone rang during one dinner and my Uncle Jim (Caruso) happen to answer it. After he asked who was on the phone he stated – “He’s eating dinner right now with his family and can’t talk.”; he then hung up the phone. I’m not sure which brother’s girlfriend called, but I’m sure that “date” never made it to a Sunday dinner. I digress. Brett didn’t make a great first impression on me or my brothers simply because he was the SLOWEST eater we had ever met. Growing up, we were allowed two “helpings” of food at dinner. The first one we were required to eat everything Mom made for dinner; the second we could chose what we wanted to eat. at the end of the second helping, dessert was served. So, when Brett joined us for his first Sunday meal, we said our prayers and devoured our two helpings of dinner and were ready to dive into dessert. One problem – dessert wasn’t served until everyone had finished their dinner. Mr. Brett Charles was still cutting his meat – from his first helping (and he, as a guest of the family, was allowed to have as many helpings as he wanted). So we spent the next 45 minutes staring at this wretch my sister was dating hoping the relationship would end before his fifth helping so we could have our damned dessert. Yes, that was my first impression of Mr. LePage.

What I have come to know about Brett since then is that the way he approaches his meals is the same way he approaches life. Slow and steady and enjoying ever last bite of it. Brett is one faithful compadre. He has been with my sister since 1978, marrying her in 1981. He has worked for McDonald-Douglas/Boeing his entire career; he has had a garden with strawberries, peppers, tomato’s, cucumbers, lettuce, etc., etc, etc. every year that I’ve known him. He made his own canoe for gosh sakes. He owns (and uses) a variety of smokers, grills and flattop grilles where he cooks briskets, chickens, pork steaks, pizza’s, breakfast’s, philly cheese steaks. He cans vegetables. He is an avid soccer buff, has season tickets for the St. Louis Blues; former bowler. But what impresses me most about Brett are not these skills and attributes; Brett has become a true man of faith over the years I’ve known him. He truly loves God and has dedicated his life for that purpose. So as I was reading the Gospel this morning, I came to the part where Jesus tells us:

Hear, O Israel!
    The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, 
    with all your soul, 
    with all your mind, 
    and with all your strength.

I thought of Brett Charles LePage, the Reverend Mr. Brett Charles LePage. My ideal Renaissance Man. A loving son; a loving husband; a loving father and I can honestly say – the only brother-in-law I will ever love. I am blessed to have Brett in my life.

Do something great for our Lord today – love Him with all your soul, with all of your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

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