Thursday, April 19, 2018

A saint has passed over to the Lord

This morning I learned that Don Efraín Martinez died last night in his home in Plan Grande. According to one person he was surrounded by his family – his wife and children and others – who were kneeling at his bedside.

I had thought of him Tuesday and was planning on visiting him, but, sad to say, I put it off.

I had visited Don Efráin in his illness twice, but knew him, most of all for his gentle smile. 

When I visited I discovered a man ready to meet his Maker. He had prostate cancer which spread throughout his body in the last few weeks.

He was extremely lucid when I visited him and spoke of being ready. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such peace and tranquility in a person who knows he is going to die. (I may have to amend that; in the last few days of his life my Dad also was at peace.)

When I got the word, I went to pray at the home, where the family was gathered, with the coffin in the living room. After greeting Susana, his wife, and some of their children and grandchildren, I went and prayed, first alone, then with the family, using the rite for a short service in the home. I was near tears, recalling the holiness next door which Don Efraín showed.

In his recent apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis calls on us to notice the saints next door. As he wrote (no. 8):

Let us be spurred on by the signs of holiness that the Lord shows us through the humblest members of that people which “shares also in Christ’s prophetic office, spreading abroad a living witness to him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity”. We should consider the fact that, as Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross suggests, real history is made by so many of them.

I have several things to do today in Dulce Nombre and Santa Rosa but plan to return to the house this evening, to be with the family.

They plan to have a Mass or a Celebration of the Word tomorrow – a worthy way to commend him to God. I will be there.

And so I pray for him in the words of the hymn “In Paradisum”:

May the angels lead you into paradise;
May the martyrs accompany you as you come
And lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem.
May the choir of angels receive you,
And with Lazarus who once was poor
may you have everlasting rest.

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