Yesterday afternoon, my dad had a massive heart attack and passed away quietly and peacefully later that night. It was sudden. He had celebrated his 72nd birthday the day before and was in great spirits. Truth be told, he usually was anyway. In his final months, he had been severely hampered by Parkinsons. Despite the lack of ambulation, the falls, and even the difficulty in feeding himself, he was always pleasant. That disposition came from his profound faith. Even as he passed from this life, his faith led him. There was no drama, no complaining, and no fear. He died in peace. He desperately wanted to be united to God for eternity and last night he got that desire. He is at peace, so I am at peace.
As a man of faith myself, a faith modeled by my dad, I feel a calm. Dad was ready. Not because of any last minute panic about needing to get his affairs in order, but because he lived the gospel day in and day out. He proudly belonged to Christ. Christ tells us that those who are unashamed of Him before others, He will be unashamed of before the Father. He was not a perfect man and would correct me for saying otherwise. He didn't see himself as a finished product just coasting through this life waiting for his entitled award, but as a pilgrim needing God's grace as he awaited the Promised Land.
The effect it has on me it that such a witness makes me want to be a better person, a better man, a better priest, and a better follower of Christ. Tomorrow we start the season of Advent, a time in which we look ahead to the fulfillment of all desires and promises of was Christ says lays ahead for those who are ready. It is a truly blest moment to witness someone who was ready and was able to look to that moment with hope and not fear. We do not get time back. The games we play and the bets we hedge rob us of hope. I know Jesus Christ reigns and loves us. I have no doubt about that. I know that I need to be ready.
I want for each and everyone of you that same blessing I saw in my dad. The calm, the hope, the faith, and the powerful witness. Anyone who authentically lives the Christian faith finds that...dad did. May the same be for you and me.