Friday, September 18, 2015

Unsung Saints and Heroes

May the Christ who walks on wounded feet
    walk with you on the road.
May the Christ who serves with wounded hands
    stretch out your hands to serve.
May the Christ who loves with a wounded heart
    open your hearts to love.
May you see the face of Christ in everyone you meet,
    and may everyone you meet see the face of Christ in you
. Amen. 

My plan was to reflect on the importance of Pope Francis' visit to North America today. Then I cycled past an elderly man and a wheelchair-bound younger man I see often along the paved waterfront trail. The old guy has the suspenders which haul his baggy shorts up near his armpits. The younger man, who I assume is his son, appears to have cerebral palsy, or some other affliction which contorts his limbs. I suspect that they are there every day as part of their routine, the loving pattern of father and son as the elder pushes the younger out toward the water.

I also regularly see an elderly couple moving slowly along the same path. She uses a walker, he is beside her keeping a patient pace. Again, I know nothing about them, but I imagine they have been together for a lifetime, in sickness and in health.  

The father and the husband will never be "saints" in the traditional definition. They will never be featured on an icon for their deeds of faith. Nor will they be feted as heroes, the way we do with those who play games and are compensated with huge sums of money for their prowess. Yet they are faithful and quietly heroic in simple ways which touch me every time I see them.

I say hello as often as I am able. I wish I could have a deeper conversation. I do have a sense that Christ is there.

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