We just returned from a wake for our friend and neighbor Patrick who died unexpectedly last Friday. Please prayer for his wife, children, and grandchildren. Sadly, he died on the eve of his fiftieth wedding anniversary.
Patrick's son, Tim, is a priest in our diocese. Bishop Hartmayer of Savannah joined us to celebrate the life of this man who at six-three stood tall physically but also stood tall spiritually. Bishop Hartmayer pointed out the reading that referred to a body as a "tent." He discussed the temporary nature of our journey here on earth. Our bodies, our tents, provide temporary shelter for the soul that was created for eternal unity with God.
God is the love song we'll sing forever.
Father Tim delivered a homily that touched me to the core. Patrick was a forty-four year-old accountant who had just made partner in his firm when he and his wife, Kathy, discerned the call to join a lay community - The Alleluia Community. They arrived in Augusta with their four young children and for two years Patrick paid the bills by doing janitorial work. Over time he re-entered the field of taxes, but never fully rebuilt the career he had established in New york.
Patrick understood that our bodies are tents, that our homes, too, are temporary dwellings, that God is the love song we'll sing forever. We won't spend eternity singing about our careers or our granite countertops or our cars.
Patrick and Kathy have raised one the loveliest families I know. They have three daughters and a son who love God and each other. Patrick and Kathy put first things first in a radical way and the fruit of their life's work is obvious.
Here in Alleluia we jump start the school year with something we call "The Thirty Days of September." As a community, we might read an inspiring book, limit our use of media, agreed to exercise together, etc. Last year we focused on love and respect. We decided to have the children serve the older folks in our neighborhood. My boys did yard work for Patrick and Kathy. While my kids know most of Patrick and Kathy's grandchildren, they didn't know the grandparents.
How grateful I am that they had an afternoon to spend with these wonderful friends. Patrick and Kathy, in turn, sent my boys the kindest notes along with a finger rosary for each of them.
The prayer and praise at Patrick's wake and funeral along with the inspiring words shared about this dear brother have gladdened my heart and left me with a greater desire to lay aside all that encumbers me and my family and to run this race with a heart less divided.
God is the love song we'll sing forever. Patrick's life and legacy have reminded me of this once again.