“Dear Lord … 6 years ago … I was camped out at the deathbed of my father, almost like now, here at Adoration. And in a way, I was adoring you — in the suffering Christ, in the tomb of my father. Unable to speak, he was yours already. And yet you, in your great love for us, gave us that gift of time. Of love. Pure love … There was nothing really but love, going in, coming out. It was the first time I’d experienced love like that, in such a primal way. It was a holy time…Our dad did not leave this world a man of influence. His brilliant pen had long gone still. He had nothing to offer, Lord. ... He was in a sense a beggar. But he was rich in you! He had you back. He had broken through the chains and could see you there, loving him. And because of that – because he believed once more that he was loved purely — he could love us that way too, at least in his heart. Physical limitations made perfect love impossible, but we knew, because you relayed the message, and it was known to us. Love, pure and deep. Thank you, Lord. Please welcome my daddy into your eternal bliss. Love, Rock.”Being able to share my faith with Dad in those final moments, to be comforted by the sheer beauty of the Catholic Mass that followed at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Bismarck, N.D. — even to have the courage and grace to sing at it — will always be a gift. Death is not happy. To lose someone we love is a breach of something beautiful. And yet when we die in faith, or lose those we love in the state of grace, it can be sublime. Because of my dad’s death, how it went down, and how deeply I was able to access heaven itself through being right there with this man who had already been resurrected in faith in life, and to share a glimpse of the glory with him as offered in particular through our beautiful Catholic faith, I find all this one more shining reason why, despite all the scandal, tumult and everything else affecting our faith in this time in history, I am still Catholic, thanks be to God. Additional "Why are you still Catholic?" posts, a series I began in November on my blog, Peace Garden Passage, include: Confession, relics, Mary, The Eucharist, Christmas, and the saints. Q4U: When has God revealed heaven to you?
Copyright 2019 Roxane Salonen
About the Author
Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five from Fargo, North Dakota, is an award-winning children’s author and freelance writer, Catholic radio host, and speaker. Roxane co-authored several spiritual works, including “What Would Monica Do?” (Ascension Press, September 2022) and writes a regular diocesan column, “Sidewalk Stories,” about her encounters at an abortion facility near her city. Her work can be found at RoxaneSalonen.com