During the prayers & intercessions of today’s Morning Prayer, I couldn’t help but give God extra praise for the incredible people I know and call saints – canonized and uncanonized. One of the main reasons why I love this joyful Solemnity is because we get to celebrate the souls who walked on the glory road victoriously with great faith and are now enjoying God’s eternal splendor in Heaven.
I could go on for days, sharing about the lives of my favorite [canonized] saints, but today in particular, on my beloved Mama’s 40th day since her birth to new life, I wanted to share all about her.
Originally shared during her funeral on September 29th.
Selfless. Caring. Joyful. Compassionate. Honest. Faithful. Pious. Charitable. These are only a few of the many qualities that describe my Mama. She possessed these qualities and more, and lived out each word in fullness. Her story was the way God intended her to live her life, and she touched not only the lives of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but all those she encountered: a large number of them she met in this sacred place.
I firmly believe that the reason our family is as close as it is today is because of Mama’s love for the Lord. The immense love for God enabled her, throughout her whole life, to love with no limits. She lived a graceful life until the very end with a heart so deeply rooted in prayer and a heart so close to the Lord and our Blessed Mother.
St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” I believe that her life reflects this quote. I know, without a doubt, that she set the hearts of her family on fire through what she did here on earth…on fire with a love to serve God through serving others before herself, on fire with a love to sacrifice for her family daily, on fire with love that always believed in our successes, and on fire with a love that raised her children in such a wonderful way that eventually passed down to her grandchildren – my cousins are practically siblings. That burning desire to love never faded. Her desire to teach us love never faded. Her heart’s capacity to love was always full.
When I’m around Mama’s children – my aunts and uncles – I see love. When we’re together we’re laughing, eating, praying, or going to Mass as a family. When I’m around my older cousins that have children, I see Mama’s heart. Now, like any other family, we’ve had our share of hardships. We’ve had situations where our faith was tested. But Mama was always there, despite the difficulties, to remind us of the faith already instilled in us and to pray unceasingly. I know Mama’s life will forever remain in our hearts, as well as the memories, the words, the advice, the prayers she poured out, and the fire of God’s love she shared.
In more recent years, when Mama and I would have our occasional phone calls, she would ask when I plan on visiting her in San Antonio next. Those calls always ended with “I’ll be waiting for you.” She would even tell me “I’ll be waiting for you” before heading to the airport to catch a plane back to Maryland. Exactly one week ago, when all 13 of her grandchildren were finally together to be with her at her bedside in the hospital, all I could think of was “we’re all here, Mama, and thank you for waiting for us.”
Thank you, Mama, for allowing us to experience the great love of God through your little and big ways. You finished the good race just the way you were supposed to. You’ve said countless times that you are proud of each of us, but Mama, I am so proud that you are my grandmother. We are all so proud to have had you as a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, a sister, an aunt, or a dear friend.
I know you’re no longer here with us on this earth, but thank you for reminding us that we are ultimately made to be together with the Lord in Heaven. With that said, wait for us there, Mama, along with Papa. Keep praying for us like you always have. Thank you for the family you and Papa built here on earth. I miss and love you both very much, and may you peacefully rest in the glorious riches of Heaven.
All you holy men and women, pray for us!