Today is the Optional Memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, a saint easily forgotten since he is stuck in between St. Patrick and St. Joseph. As a Bishop, he suffered for his defense of the Church against the Arian heresy, and was ultimately named a Doctor of the Church. My beloved husband would have known many tiny details about St. Cyril, as he did about many of the saints that march through the Liturgical Year, so it seemed like a good day to remember our family's personal saint, who will probably never be canonized and who frequently asked us to keep praying for him after he died since he wasn't certain that he used his abilities as well as he could have, and as the Gospel says, "Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more" (Luke 12:48).
My cousin, who is a Deacon, wrote a column about my husband on the second anniversary of his death, and he gave me permission to use it, so I will include it below as a fitting tribute to the beloved man to whom I was married for 38 years. He was the greatest gift God gave me, after my Faith.
Every soul will, on rare occasion, come into communion with another soul, whom God has so completely filled, so as to be compelled to bend the knee in wonderment and prayer.
I was reminded recently of an encounter with such a soul and his passing two years ago. He was an amazing man with a soul seldom met in any lifetime. He was one of those rare and special souls and I thank God every day for sending him to alter the course of my life.
It was not through any words that were ever spoken, but the life so lived in the presence of God that made the encounter with him so life-changing. Like the dawn of a new day, every encounter brought new light and clarity to the unforeseen choices and new opportunities that lay before this poor soul. His very act of living gave perfect evidence to what it means to evangelize, of living the Gospel every moment of every day, and of being a member of the body of Christ. Every breath he took was for the glory of God. He bore Christ on his sleeve and in his heart, openly, honestly, and proudly.
It may seem somehow strange to reflect upon his passing by using a quote from a Star Trek movie but I believe it expresses it so eloquently. It is Kirk's eulogy of Spock: "We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain
or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most ... human."
Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most ... human. I loved and love him dearly and miss him terribly but am lifted up with joy in knowing that he is now watching over those he loved so much, in the presence of Almighty and Ever-loving God.
Thank you ... for opening the door of my soul to God.
And I am so deeply grateful to my cousin for putting into words the spiritual gifts that shone in my husband, and became brighter as his physical strength diminished, but that still illuminate our entire family as a clear star guiding us all as we continue our own pilgrimage until we are all reunited in the eternal banquet in the heavenly Jerusalem.