I recently had the pleasure of attending the funeral of a holy and faithful man. One of this man’s daughters is a very close friend to my wife and I and we felt it an honor to be present for his funeral Mass. My wife and I flew out to see the family a few days before the funeral and spent time with our friend and all of her siblings and their own families. We listened to stories of their father’s humor, work ethic, and his faithfulness to the Church. My wife and I learned so much about this man, who prayed the Rosary several times a day. He walked several miles to daily Mass in the hot Arizona sun, up until he was bedridden. Every day, he and his wife prayed 3 Hail Mary’s for each of their 6 children; one for their purity, one for their faithfulness to the Church, and one for them to get to Heaven. He was humble and quiet, and loved to work. This man left behind a legacy of faithfulness: Faithfulness to his family and friends, and most of all, faithfulness to the Church. I learned so much about what it takes to be a man over the weekend my wife and I spent with this family, and it inspired me to share with you the fruits of this man’s faithfulness, and hopefully the faithfulness of parents everywhere.
1. Your children follow your lead
When you are devout and faithful to the Church and to your family, your children grow as witnesses to your life. They follow your example and put God at their foundation. There may be a child that falls off the path, but just like the story of the prodigal son, there is always a way back. As your children raise their own families, they will teach their children all they learned from you.
2. Your love for Christ fills your house
When you are filled with love for Christ and you allow Him to fill your heart, your cup will runneth over onto your family. Even when times are tough, no darkness can overpower the Lord’s mercy and love. Joy can be felt in your home and visitors will see and feel the joy of a family in love with Christ. Love for Christ is infectious, even if it is quiet and humble.
3. Your children will surround themselves with friends, and in some cases, a spouse, who is faithful to the Church
A faithful servant to the Lord will become the rock of his or her family. All will come to you for advice and comfort. Even family friends and extended family will see you as the rock and come to you in need. Because of this, when your children are out on their own, they will seek the Church as it is home away from home. Here your children will find friends and mentors who will walk the path of faithfulness with them and offer comfort in times of need.
4. A holy death
Besides getting to Heaven, dying a holy death is the ultimate reward of faithfulness. You will be surrounded by your family who will be praying the Rosary together on your behalf and giving praise to the Lord for giving you to them. Before you leave you will receive Holy Communion and Last Rights, and say your last words to your family. Your family will watch as you slip into the arms of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph and begin your new eternal life. Tears will be shed; tears of sorrow because your loved ones will miss your physical presence, and tears of joy because of the loving legacy you left behind and the knowledge that you will be with them in spirit.
Not everyone will experience the same things I mentioned above. Everyone’s journey with Christ will be different and the fruit may be different. I have seen a few deaths and attended funerals where I knew Christ was present, but this last one was special because the man who died was a man I hope to become. Though I only had the chance to talk with him a handful of times in the past, I feel like he is a part of me and my family. Through his family, he taught me that being a faithful servant to Christ and your family is the true meaning of manhood…of fatherhood. A man can never lose sight of his purpose as long as he remembers this. If you follow Christ and bring your family with you, everything else will fall into place wherever God wants it.
Thank you, Mr. H., and please pray for me.