Saints are sinners who love God. He does not love us because we are good. God loves us because He is good.
Through God’s graces, over Jack’s lifetime, he experienced the goodness and the love of God. It humbled him and challenged his view of our broken world. Jack was a big thinker with an even bigger heart. He understood his many gifts and the responsibility he had to share those gifts with others. Jack began by sharing his gifts with family and friends. He uniquely loved each of us, responding to our hurts and celebrating our victories to the fullest. Jack challenged himself and us to be better. After he died, each of us was certain we were his favorite. There was no jealousy in that; it was a given.
I have asked myself over and over how Jack was able to bring everyone together without compromising his principles and values. It was his gift, his secret sauce. He was funny and had a magnetic personality. He laughed a lot and, out of his goodness, was able to find and express his love for others.
Jack started reading about the lives of the saints a few years before he died. Of course, being named after Saint John of the Cross and having a Catholic education, he was familiar with them. But when he started reading Saint Augustine, The Confession, The City of God, Thomas Aquinas, Loyola, etc., he came to understand. Jack came to understand who he was and who God was. He saw his struggles and weaknesses in the lives of these great saints. Their struggles with the flesh, their shortcomings, were his. And he saw great joy, peace, and love – the transformation of their lives once they said their “yes” to God. Jack began to take time to pray, morning and night, and for daily spiritual reading. His love for God and others grew, and those around him were the beneficiaries. Like Saint Thérèse, he did not do extraordinary things; he did ordinary things with great love.
And that’s why I call Jack my little saint. We are all called to become saints, to grow in God’s love every day, and to share it with others, especially with the broken and those in need. That is how we transform our world – one “yes” to love at a time.
November is the month for prayer for our beloved dead. I invite you to pray this prayer:
The Prayer of Saint Gertrude
I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus,
in union with the Masses said throughout the world today,
for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere,
for sinners in the universal church,
those in my own home and within my family.