"Tell me About the Trinity": Lessons at the Hour of Death
Deacon Keith Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
I spent yesterday morning at the bedside of a friend who is dying; the night before he had received the news that he has less than two weeks to live. The cancer that he fought with such heroic courage has spread throughout his lymph glands. He is preparing for the passing to the Father with the dignity and beauty that authentic Christian faith forges in a soul.
He has lived a full and fascinating life. He is a staunch and courageous defender of the Catholic faith. He reminds me of the great lay evangelist Frank Sheed - at least what I imagine Frank Sheed was like, since I never met him. My friend loves to tell anyone who will listen of the beauty and fullness of truth found in the Catholic Christian faith. In fact, he will engage any issue concerning that faith, with anyone, and at any time.
As a Deacon of the Church I had the privilege of bringing Viaticum to him. His beloved wife sat next to him, displaying the courage, beauty and dignity of sacramentally grounded, faithful married love. I prayed with them both at his bedside. After the completion of the Service, during a tender and profound moment of silence, he turned to me, focused his piercing, peaceful, and intensely inquisitive eyes upon my own, and asked a question that was so unusual - and so profound- that I have dwelt upon it since. I will carry it within me for many years to come.
"Tell me about the Trinity", my friend asked, "are they really happy?"
By God's grace, I was not taken aback by such a profound and unexpected question. In fact, the Holy Spirit gave me an immediate response. "My friend, they are intensely happy -and soon you will join in their joy" I said. "There is a Greek word used in Eastern Christian theology in an attempt to open up the mystery of the intra-Trinitarian relationship to us mere mortals." I could tell from his eyes that I had captured his attention.
He and I have shared many times about theological truths and the deeper meaning of our Catholic faith. He is a wonderful example of the great gift whom John Paul the Great referred to as the "Lay members of Christ's Faithful" in his letter that bore that title. A natural theologian, my friend has deepened his own mystical prayer life with a lifelong program of theological and spiritual reading.
"What is it?" he asked
"The Greek word is 'perichoresis'", I said. "It is loosely translated as a joyful dance of love. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are joined in continual dance of love and, very soon, you will be invited to join in." Without missing a beat, a smile broke out on his hollowed face, he leaned toward me and responded: "I hope I can keep up with them". "You will", I assured him, "and you will pray for all of us."
I have learned that people die the way they live. I have seen this truth demonstrated in the past. And here, before my eyes, I was once again witnessing the transforming power of faith and the reception of last gift given to those who really believe; the grace of a peaceful death. A priest friend told me many years ago that the most requested prayer he receives from people facing death is the "Hail Mary"; a prayer that Catholics are taught from their childhood.
In that prayer, after reciting the message the Angel gave to the Virgin of Nazareth, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus", we ask her to pray for us in these words: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death." After I left my friend's home, I prayed that prayer all the way home. I thanked God for the witness of a faithful Catholic man who was ready to die, because of how he lived.
Words quickly became inadequate. I came home and sat in silence.
"Tell me about the Trinity" he had asked me. Yet, he brought me closer to the Dance of love that he will soon join. The entire encounter filled me with unspeakable joy. My friend taught me a lesson at the hour of death; one that I will treasure for eternity.
Deacon Keith Fournier is a married Catholic deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. He is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University and the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law.
Third Millennium, LLC
http://www.catholic.org VA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - Deacon, 757 546-9580
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Church reviews possible Catholic hospital mega-merger
- Commission recommends Church end priestly celibacy and confession to ...
- Australia asks Church to end celibacy and confession to fight child ...
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, December 19th, 2017 HD Video
- Indonesia rejects law that would criminalize sex outside of marriage
- St. Ado of Vienne: Saint of the Day for Saturday, December 16, 2017
- Daily Readings for Saturday, December 16, 2017
- Daily Reading for Monday, December 18th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, December 17th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, December 16th, 2017 HD
- The Net Neutrality Scam: Get ready to pay a lot more for a lot less HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way