born March 19th 1931 and died July 27th 2007
In the Gospels Jesus tells us that if we are to be Christians then we are to take up our cross and follow him. Jesus tells us that if we love him we are to obey him. Jesus tells us that the world will hate us for obeying him and for following him but that the world first hated him.
What does it mean to follow Jesus? What does it mean to obey him; or to take up our cross?
Jesus tells us that we are to Love God with our whole heart and our neighbors as ourselves… on the night before he was betrayed Jesus says there is no greater love than to lay down ones life for a friend.
St. Paul tells us, in 1 Cor. 13, that we can have a faith that moves mountains but, if we have not love we are empty and have nothing. St. Paul goes on to tell us what “love” is and should mean to us. This passage is often thought of in terms of marriage but that is not the context that was intended by St. paul. This is the blue print for living out the Gospel… we are to love our neighbor… too love those God has placed in our life… along our path.
1 Corinthians Chapter 13
1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues 2 but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,
5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
9 For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
So what does this mean?
Mary Lou Brown, spent over 50 years in a wheel chair, she always took care of herself, she always gave what she had to others, was always more concerned about others, and never once, in my entire life, have I heard her complain about the cross she was given to bear. Not once! She was always full of life.
I wine and complain constantly because I’m over weight, because my cell phone breaks, because my clothes rip, because its hot, because I don’t make enough money, because I don’t have the perfect job, because I can’t get my way….
Every person is called to holiness… we are all called to be like Christ… yet, clearly, some have been given special graces to bear their cross better than others. Mary Lou Brown was one of them. She was a Saint ministering to the sinful and I was not worthy of her.
In the Gospels, where Jesus speaks of our judgment, he never says we will be judged by what we believed or professed. The criterion is always what we have done! What did we do with this life! How did we live! Did we love!
Mary Lou Brown was never big on Church. I never saw her at Church on Sunday, I never heard her say a prayer or read the Bible. But she was a warrior for Jesus with her life because she loved more than anyone I know. She proclaimed the Gospel, not with words, but with an entire life of self-sacrifice. For if you love me you will obey me… spoke Jesus… she obey to the end… she finished the race by working out her salvation in fear and trembling (St. Paul’s words). I know more about Jesus simply because I knew Mary Lou Brown.
When I held her hand, as she took her last breath, I saw Jesus in her face. She was a saint and I am not worthy of her.
On Thursday July 26th 2007 Mary Lou Brown was baptized! On Friday July 27th 2007 as the clock struck 5pm (with her birds chirping and her family by her side) she took her last breath and went home to the Lord.
Grandma Brown please pray for us.