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Standing Room Only

This morning, my family and I attended the funeral of a deacon from our home parish. There was standing room only.


Growing up, I saw Deacon Bill Wagner serve at most masses, as a rather quiet, behind-the-scenes deacon. He could always be found in the adoration chapel, no matter the hour. He was at every 8:30 A.M. mass, after which he would often drive to a local breakfast diner with a few elderly parishioners. The one other location I remember seeing him was at Mary Jo Peckham Park, where he would often fly fish. While an outwardly simple man, Deacon Bill Wagner had a great impact on much of the Katy, Texas population; much of which he is likely only now discovering.


As I learned recently, he had an instrumental role in my mother's conversion and my father's reversion. He introduced them to Opus Dei- which has the mission of spreading, "...the Christian message that every person is called to holiness and that every honest work can be sanctified." Opus Dei has not only introduced me to some of my dearest, potentially life-long friendships, but continues to be a transformative, fruitful gift in my life and those around me.


While attending his funeral and considering his life, I thought about a specific quote from the 2000 film, Gladiator. It is spoken by the character Maximus, as he gives his troops their pre-battle, rallying proclamation:


"What we do in life, echoes in eternity."


Deacon Wagner's funeral mass was packed because he lived in full acceptance of his eternal soul and mortal body. There were not only many teary eyes and joyful hearts due to this, but also multiple people receiving the Eucharist as a direct result of his sanctity.


It is easy to forget that we too, will die. We will all face our maker one day, and will have to account for the souls of whom we are responsible; whether they spend eternity in heaven or hell. While this is a rather sobering truth, a life lived like Deacon Wagner's should bring us hope.


We are only expected to live this day as a saint; to offer our day to God, sanctify our daily work, receive what sacraments are available, love those around us through service, run to Confession when we fail to do the above, and to make a spiritual game plan for the following day.


We do not have to be on the front cover of a magazine, a priest in the pulpit, the Fox News feature guest, or the president of the USA, to absolutely transform the lives around us and the state of souls. Some of us are ordered to be so, but most of us are likely called to sanctify more outwardly simple lives.


Wherever you may be in your life- whether as a married woman, a working man, a high school athlete, a college student or a consecrated single: your daily work and monotonous life can be used to alter the future and the course of humanity. Do it with love, and with perseverance.


Every one of our weak selves are called to be instruments of God's plan.


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