Thursday, August 9, 2018
Today, in Mercy, our Gospel reading offers us Peter’s magnificent profession of faith.
This profession might cause us to consider our own faith and how we profess it in our daily lives.
I think about that today in the context of my father’s life. Today is his birthday.
My father, gone to God nearly forty years ago, would have been 103 years old today.
He was born in the midst of the World War — called only that, because we never expected a second one.
His 28- year-old mother died when he was just two years old.
He grew up into a Depression which caused him to cease his schooling at 7th grade and work the farm with the uncle who raised him.
By the tragic Second World War, he had grown to a man and would fight in the fields and cities of Europe. He came home with pictures in his head that he would never talk about. And he never traveled again, at least not beyond Wildwood, New Jersey.
With not even a grade school diploma, he was a self-educated man in the skills of plumbing, electricity, painting, paper-hanging, and cement work. Don’t undervalue this unless you have attempted these tasks yourself!
He was a hard-working, blue collar, salt-of-the-earth man who never owned his home but raised a family whose hearts he owned completely.
He suffered a heart injury at work when he was in his 50s and eventually – despite a valiant struggle – became disabled. After several heart attacks, he died a relatively early death at age sixty-six. In the intervening years, he read, prayed, and loved my mother, brother and me without reservation. He never missed a Sunday or Holy Day at Church. He prayed his devotions and novenas every day. He never put a single person down by his words or actions.
Some may read this short synopsis of his life and think it a little tragic. I read it and remember an everyday saint. He was made so by his resolute faith and trust in God; by his honest, inclusive patriotism, by his immense selflessness, and by his abundant kindness. These traits characterized many of “The Greatest Generation”. We should never underestimate the contribution of their character to our national historical wealth.
My Dad died completely fulfilled and happy, leaving a heritage of faith, loyalty, generosity and love. That was his profession of faith, and I take great joy in it today. I think in many ways, Dad was a lot like Peter and I like to think of him that way as I pray this morning .
My dear readers, in your own family trees, I hope you are blessed to have such people- rough, tender-hearted heroes who carried you into the fullness of your life. Think of them, learn from them, and bless them today. Be them – if you have the courage.
Dad loved music. Toward the end of his life, this free and beautiful melody was one of his favorites. You might enjoy it as you pray this morning.
Verde ~ Guido and Maurizio DeAngelis