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This was a photograph of someone beset with foreboding.Matt had managed to come up with his phone number and left it to me to contact him and ask if he might come to Mundelein for some lectures.I studied his picture carefully as a way to prepare myself for the call.As excited as I was about this possibility, I couldn’t dial his number.Our apartment was on the third floor with a pantry off the kitchen in the back, which became my office.I would resolve to call him, would even get to my desk and pull the phone over in front of me.Then I would decide I needed a better opening.Maybe I should start off with a confession of how deeply moved I was by his article The New Cosmic Story. Or maybe I should I tell him something about my own work?Maybe the best approach would be to just jump into our request that he speak to our grad students?My difficulty came from the way in which his words had penetrated so deeply into me.I had trouble believing a human being living a normal life in New York City had written them.My unconscious assumption was that such words could come only from the deepest stratum.Maybe something similar happened to people who knew Moses or Mohammed.There was an even more frightening possibility.What if the opposite proved to be the case?What if he ended up regarding my phone call as an irritating waste of time?What if the only sentiment he sent through the telephone wires was a desire that our phone call end?My destiny would be squashed out of existence as quickly as it had emerged.The possibility that I was actually on the phone with him unnerved me.I asked if I was speaking with Thomas Berry.When he said yes, I asked him how I should address him.I don’t know why I didn’t just say that.But as he was a monk in the Passionist contemplative community within the Roman Catholic Church, perhaps there was a special way to address him.I didn’t know if his group was called Brothers or Fathers. Or something else?Berry? Before he could reply I jabbered something else.Was I claiming to be one of his friends now?Is that what I just said?Before he could answer, I rushed to tell him we’d love to have him come for several days and deliver some lectures to our students, that we would fly him out to Chicago, that he would receive an honorarium, meals, and a place to stay.I was awkward with all of this, never having set up a lecture series.After I read the logistical details from my sheet of paper, I launched once again into a new topic.This rude behavior stemmed from my fear that he would say no to our petition.Maybe he was too busy?He had gathered together some unpublished essays into mimeographed volumes.As soon I remembered that money might be involved, a new fear kicked in.Maybe that’s what he wanted?I’m sure I could get some stationery tomorrow, I said.I would be happy to send a check as well.What would you need in order to send me the volumes?There was a short pause.Just your address, he said.A light snow had begun to fall, and when I saw the flakes land on his thin gray hair and melt, I offered him my knitted wool cap, which he refused.He was unconcerned about the cold.Once again, I felt misled by the photograph of him.The contrast between the somber face on the conference brochure and his physical presence was startling.As the cabbie pulled his satchel out of the trunk and Thomas thanked him for the ride, I searched for the word to capture what it was like to stand next to him.He radiated kindness, but there was something else.As I waited for the right moment to introduce Matt and myself, he stood looking up at the sky through the lightly falling snow.Chicago has a spaciousness .When he smiled I knew what the word was.He gave off the aura of celebration.As if he were in the middle of a vast cosmic party that I wanted to join with all my heart.Hildegard of Bingen! His excitement matched Matt’s.