Today my family and I had the opportunity to attend the funeral of an elderly gentleman from our parish. He passed away last Sunday, at the age of 93. The only thing I know about this man’s life was that he converted to Catholicism after being a Protestant pastor for years– a move that required strength and grace and was undoubtedly extremely difficult.
I want to share with you all a short, sweet story, not about him, but about his wife of 69 years. One day the couple was sitting with us during Mass. Immediately after Mass, she turned to me, took both my hands in hers and said with the most beautiful, genuine smile, “It was a pleasure to worship with you.”
As Catholics, we are all too guilty of forgetting that we are in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every single time we go to Mass. We are also WAY too guilty of forgetting that attending Mass should be an act of worship, and NOT simply sitting in a pew so we can “check off” our Sunday obligation.
Also, its so easy to be sitting next to someone during the entire Mass and not even acknowledge their presence! This is not we what we are called to. To quote Origen (from the second century), people should look at us and say, “Look how they love each other.”
This elderly lady’s comment was so beautiful because it was so loving, and so… so confidently faithful. It is such a perfect example of how we should all treat each other.
Side note: This was my sole encounter with this precious woman until today when my Mom and I went over to offer condolences to her at the funeral. She greeted us with a huge smile and said, (these are her exact words), “I am so happy for him, but MY am I going to miss him.” (Ummm, isn’t this simply beautiful?! Her faith and charisma are truly amazing!)
I hope this (much longer than I intended) ancedote has inspired you in some way. Please Pray for the repose of his soul (his first name was Spencer), and if you have any similar stories please leave them in the comments!
Eternal rest, grant unto him oh Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace, and may his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.