Two Everyday Saints

Today, I listened to two friends cry on the phone. The first, I called to say hello, and he told me of a brother from the Knights who died this week. The fellow was very involved with the youth of the parish, and boys came from all over town to the funeral. They had the maximum altar servers, and numerous other boys who had volunteered. They all lined up after Mass to process with the coffin, standing in the rain when no one else had left yet.

The other was one of my oldest friends in the world, whom I’ve known since I was Allie’s age, talking of the death of his father. He informed me last week of his father’s death, by e-mail. I told him I’d wait till things calmed down a bit and give him a call this week.

He told me of his father’s extreme generosity and forgiveness. His father’s lifelong best friend was arrested for a Ponzi scheme, of which his father was himself a victim, and his father actually wrote a statement asking the judge for leniency. He said that he and his brothers agreed that, compared to that example of Christian forgiveness, battling over the estate would dishonor their father (as they’re having some issues with other family members).

It was very moving. One area where the liberals are right is that, back in the Middle Ages, canonization was as much a matter of popular appeal as Papal investigation. The people would recognize the outstanding holiness of a person and rise up, often on the day of the funeral, calling for the Church to recognize that person as a saint.

We often, myself included, criticize the modern tendency to “canonize” everyone at their funerals, especially the canonically illicit practice of eulogies at Catholic funerals. However, one of the very reasons that is bad is that it detracts from the heroic virtues shown by those who really deserve our praise after their deaths.

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3 responses to “Two Everyday Saints

  1. I think what we of a more traditional bent often forget is that the Communion of Saints in the Church Triumphant includes, in fact is dominated by, people not recognized by the Vatican as Saints. They are the “small s” saints, of everyday life, who will never be noticed for great works or miracles- but who make our life on this planet much more bearable.

    I go to the funeral of such a man tomorrow. He was a Knight many years ago, before he moved to a parish without a council. He founded the usher program at my parish. He spent the last few years of his life moving very slowly- but always had a hug for Christopher.

    At age 84, body racked with Parkinson’s, he somehow got it into his mind to go down to his basement in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago, and fell down the stairs. Nobody knows how long he lay there- he lived an additional week and three days in the hospital before passing.

    I’ll miss him. My son will miss him. He was a saint to us.

  2. Serious: Requiem aeternam, dona eum, Domine, et lux perpetuam luceat eum.

    Humorous: Et tu, Theodore? That’s five people in two days who’ve lost a close relative or friend!

  3. Two actually- but we choose the close Catholic friend funeral rather than the far away non-Catholic relative.

    Within an hour of each other- but 7 hours of driving apart, both within the same state.

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