Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Brandon

5/3/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The first Ordinary Heroes of my life were my parents Al and Kay Brandon.  Though they have each gone to their eternal rest, the lessons that they taught me and my sister have grown in importance as my walk of faith becomes deeper day by day.

Finding the hero in ordinary people is about the eyes with which we look for them.

Finding the hero in ordinary people is about the eyes with which we look for them.

Highlights

By Michael Brandon

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/3/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes


TUCSON, AZ (Catholic Online) - One definition of a hero, though sexist, brought home the first Ordinary Heroes I encountered in my life.  It stated that a hero is "a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength."  Then it gave as an example the following: "RAF pilots were the heroes of the Battle of Britain."  Well, that is a part of my father's heroism.  My Dad was an RCAF pilot during the Battle of Britain, as Canadians joined up to help the United Kingdom fight off the Fascists. 

But, before he left to fly Spitifire airplanes as a member of the 421 Red Indian Squadron of the RCAF, my mother insisted on marrying him, so that he would know that she was waiting for him.  They already knew of men who received Dear John letters overseas, and my mother was determined that she would be faithful to her love for him.  They wrote lots love letters to each other, and my sister still has many of them, which my daughters have been able to read  to see an earthly love that sustained my father while he fought for freedom.  They are letters of undying love in the face of danger.
 
When my father returned from the war, my parents moved together to London Ontario, so my father could complete his university degree.  Then he and my mother tried to find the right work environment for them to build a family.  Part of my father's education was becoming a convert to Roman Catholicism, so he and my mother could raise children together in the same faith.
 
Like many men who went to war, my father had had his immune system compromised by the stress levels that flying a warplane into battle can bring.  He developed crippling arthritis, and so they figured out together how to deal with it.  My father became an accountant, and ran a small practice from his home for the rest of his life.  My mother worked by his side, doing whatever she could to support him.  She did bookkeeping in client's offices, since my father was not able, and they were a team.  Early in this remake of my father's career aspirations, I was born, followed by my sister a few years later.
 
My parents were Catholics from the pre-Vatican II era, and though they adapted pretty well, and were faithful church goers, and contributors, much of their faith showed in their actions, not so much in their talk.  They led by example.  I remember the family rosary in the evenings, as my sister and I knelt at an ottoman in the middle of the living room, while my parents sat in their chairs behind us, leading us in prayer.
 
My mother told me a few years ago, before she died, about a decision that she and my father had agonized over for me when I was quite young, that they knew would have a serious impact on me.  It did have a serious impact, and was at the foundation of my rejection of the faith many years later.  Yet, it proved in the end to have been a wise decision, as through their continued prayers, I was not lost, just missing in action for a time.
 
My father passed away in the fall of 1983.  I lived near them in London at the time, and my sister lived in Toronto, Ontario.  Dad had a massive heart attack, and was on life support.  The doctors told us that he had only 5% function in his heart.  My sister came home that weekend, and we went to see my father.  He had miraculously revived.  We spent Saturday afternoon with him, and it was just like when we were kids.  We joked with each other the way we had back then, and just loved each other simply.  After we left, my father slipped into unconsciousness, where he stayed until he died several days later.  I had the privilege of being with my mother when he died. 
 
My mother was a strong woman.  She had to be to care for my father and for my sister and me.  We often misunderstood that rigidity that surfaced in her.  As My Dear Wife also is disabled, I now can understand my mother and her love for my dad.  My mother's example of perseverance, in the trial of loving a person with all your heart that you have watched physically decline, on days when your heart wants to cry out for mercy, gives me strength today.
 
My mother was no shrinking violet, and she called a spade a spade.  Many years ago, when I was particularly off in left field, she prayed for God to hit me over the head with a baseball bat.  About 6 years ago, her prayer was answered as God who had a better plan, allowed me to be hit in the head by a Ford Aerostar van.  That incident left me disabled myself, and has allowed me to see the wonderful example that my father was, in how he dealt with his own infirmity.  I have come to understand how difficult life was for him, and how much he loved us and God to never have quit.
 
About 5 years ago, my mother became suddenly, deathly ill.  My Dear Wife and I, along with two of my cousins, were able to be present at the moment when she was ushered into the kingdom of heaven.  The doctor called us at home near midnight to tell us that he thought my mother would not make it through the night.  We called my cousins and met them back at mom's hospital bed.  After she received the Sacrament of the Sick from the on call priest, we sat around her, and prayed the Hail Mary, Glory Be, and concluded with an Our Father.  At the Amen of the Our Father, we all witnessed her spirit leaving the room to go and join my dad, and all the saints in heaven. 
 
Just as I completed this last sentence, My Dear Wife called me to come and pray the Rosary with her.   She had taken my rosary out from under the pillow in our bedroom.  This particular Rosary had been the one that my father received on joining the Knights of Columbus.  I have carried it with me for many years.  Last year the rosary links suddenly all turned to gold.  But, this morning as we prayed, Jesus fell off the cross, a reminder from my father to us that though Jesus died for us, it was his Resurrection that conquered death and sin.  After we finished praying, I replaced the now broken crucifix, with the crucifix from the Knights of Columbus Rosary that I received when I became a Knight, further linking us with my father.  Even though my dad has been dead for almost 30 years, he still remains with us.
 
My Dear Wife also reminded me that I could not have written this piece about my parents until recently, because I had not come to the knowledge that they were Ordinary Heroes in my life before.  She is so right, and that serves as a reminder to me that finding the hero in ordinary people is about the eyes with which we look for them.

-----

Michael Brandon is a Canadian Catholic, in love with God in His three persons, and in love with his wife and soul mate.  He is also the father of three, step father of three, and step grandfather to 2 1/3.   He and his wife spend part of winters keeping warm in sunny Arizona.  You can visit him at his blog site Freedom Through Truth.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Saint Teresa of Avila: Virgin and Doctor of Prayer Watch

Image of St. Teresa of Avila

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

St. Teresa's whole life is one of simple beauty and fervent purpose; it is a life contained in Christ. She shows us how to live the same way through Prayer.On reading from St. Teresa, a deep feeling of her love for His Majesty envelops us; we begin, in a very real, ... continue reading


Femine Genius, Holiness and St. Teresa of Avila Watch

Image of Teresa of Avila was a mystic as well as an active and effective disciple of Jesus Christ. She demonstrates that the two expressions of the one Christian Way of Life can and should work together in our own experience - no matter what out vocation or state in life. This insight lies at the heart of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council's on the Universal Call to Holiness.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his ... continue reading


From St Francis of Assisi to the Faithful: We Must be Simple Watch

Image of St. Francis of Assisi

By St. Francis of Assisi

We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God's sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all ... continue reading


St Therese of the Child Jesus: In the Heart of the Church I Will Be Love Watch

Image of Perhaps one of the most beloved saints of the Catholic Church,Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) had wisdom beyond any formal learning which came from the depth of her interior life

By St Therese of Lisieux

O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its ... continue reading


The Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: Archangels and Powerful Spiritual Allies Sent by Love and for Love Watch

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

The Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us - The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition (328). Charged by God to ... continue reading


Pope Cornelius and Bishop Cyprian are Examples for this Age of Martyrs Watch

Image of The blessed Cyprian suffered martyrdom on 14 September, under the emperors Valerian and Gallienus, but in the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory for ever. Amen.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

God and his angels look down upon us; Christ, who looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith. What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle in the presence of God and to be crowned by Christ our judge. Let us be armed with a great ... continue reading


Feast of St Augustine of Hippo: Defender of Truth Watch

Image of St. Augustine:

By F. K. Bartels

If there is any message which can be drawn from St. Augustine's life, and there are many, it is the message of repentance and conversion. This is a message the world desperately needs to hear today. It is one of heartfelt dedication to Christ as Master, Teacher and ... continue reading


Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Reminds Us that 'Love Is Sufficient of Itself' Watch

Image of Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the ... continue reading


Saint Clare Shows Us How The Path of Simplicity Can Lead To A Greater Love for Christ

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

We learn from St. Clare both the importance of giving one's life to Christ as well as the sublime, eternal rewards of doing so. When we leave the fleeting, temporary created objects of the world behind, no longer placing our trust in them or seeing them as inordinately ... continue reading


Fr. Paul Schenck on Edith Stein: Daughter of Israel, Daughter of the Church Watch

Image of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz: Throughout her life, Edith never renounced or denounced her Jewish identity. Rather, as demonstrated in her memoir, her participation in Jewish customs at home, her letter to the Pope and in her correspondences, she spoke of her Jewish roots as intrinsic to her self-identification, to her views and even to aspects of her vocation

By Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck

August 9 is the Memorial of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz. In this sketch, Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck, Jewish born priest and Chair of the National Pro-Life Center (Washington, DC), examines the ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2014 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter