I went to Tom Echenrode’s funeral last week. Some of you may know him from the assistance we have given to the Holy Name Yard Sale, among other things. His daughter Sue (now Sue O’Donnell, a St. Michael parishioner) went to school with me. Sue gave a wonderful eulogy for her father. One that showed his very human side and at the same time showed what an exemplary life he led for those who strive to live in service of others. I have mentioned many times the value of the community of God’s people on earth and the need for all in that community to reach out to all people. Tom did this, just as many of our brother knights, in a very real and continuous way. Msgr. Ruef talked a lot about Tom in his homily as would be expected. One thing that really struck me was a concept he shared that seemed so clear to me once I heard it. In essence he said as we age, our bodies wear out, inevitably to fail. However our spirit never ages. Our spirit has the potential to grow throughout our life. How ironic that can seem. In an age where an inordinate emphasis is placed on the physical that there is a part of us, indeed the most important part, that not only does not wear out but matures and blossoms over time if given the proper care and feeding. George Carlin had a joke, “why do you think old people seem so much more religious than young people…because they are studying for the final test”. While George wasn’t noted for being a real religious man, he may have been on to something there. As we grow and mature, most of us realize that our spirit is our immortal catalyst. Where we end up is directly affected by the direction we take our spirit through our actions. When we place our soul before God on judgment day, that is truly when we bear the measure of our life. Our body at that point is irrelevant. What is relevant is how our spirit (read “character”) chose to use the body we were given. Yep, I am getting older. I already feel parts fray and wear. Much to my son’s dismay I don’t consider myself “old”, but I can’t count on how long that process will be. I better pay attention to the only part of me that I can count on not wearing out, my soul. Gratefully, I have you brother knights to help me in that endeavor. Thank you. If you think of it sometime, say a quick prayer for Tom and his family, he was a good man. Also please consider this, it can never hurt any of us to occasionally take a moment and ponder simply “am I heading in the right direction”? Everything else may fall apart, but our soul is ageless!
- Indomitable Spirit