Andy Buchleitner, OFS Reflections

Andy is (JPIC) Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Liaison of Five Franciscan Martyrs Region
He's also and excellent writer of Spiritual Reflections


by Andy Buchleitner, OFS

Some of my wife’s family came down from Ohio for a visit recently.  They’re pretty ordinary people from “Up North.”  No special education, job history or accomplishments.  Fifty years from now they will be remembered for being born, living fairly nondescript lives and dying - maybe in old age or perhaps young.  Some later generations may remember where they are buried.  Most probably will not.  It got me thinking of some of the “ordinary” people I’ve met in my outreach efforts.  One woman, in particular, seems to always come to mind.  I met her late in her life, after she had been forced into a nursing home.  I say forced because, after a stroke that left her partially paralyzed, she was unable to look after herself.  She really didn’t have any other option anyway since her estranged son took possession of her home, rendering her basically homeless. 

By all appearances, she was just another ordinary nursing home dweller.  She kept to herself mostly and was a little hard to understand.  But Marie wasn’t ordinary, she was “extraordinary!”  The more I got to know her, the more humbled yet inspired I became.  Without going into detail, I can say with certainty that I got to be part of the life of a saint.  Although to those who didn’t know her she appeared quite ordinary, Marie’s life took on a supernatural brilliance when seen through the eyes of eternity.  I saw the quiet humility of Mother Mary as she tirelessly sacrificed to raise her children while protecting them from an abusive father/husband.  I felt the spirit of St. Teresa of Calcutta as she always put the needs of others before her own, selflessly serving - with great love.  But most of all, I was inspired with her perseverance to hold on to her faith as she struggled through her infirmity, family rejection and loneliness as she bore her heavy cross in those last years.

Will people remember Marie?  If the rusting metal plate that now marks her grave is any indication, the answer is “probably not.”  But, more importantly, would God forget such a beautiful daughter, especially one with whom He was so well pleased?  Never!  This is our Hope.  This is our Faith.  If only we Love - Greatly.

Received 2/12/2019


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