18 Feb A Hidden Life
by 3 members of Madonna House
Michael had a hidden life. Preparing to give his eulogy was like putting a puzzle together or trying to uncover a mystery. You get bits and pieces, like a photo in his album, from Chile, before he joined Madonna House. He’s holding a big horse by the bridle and wearing a revolver. He looks like a gaucho (a South American cowboy).
Michael Lopez’ gift to Madonna House was his trust. He trusted that God was good and that He was present. He trusted in the Catholic Church. He trusted in Madonna House. He trusted in me, his director. He trusted in us.
What an incredible gift to receive such trust! And from that trust, I received from him unexpected affection. Love is the fruit of trust.
He loved Madonna House right from the beginning, and that love never left him. One of the men staff said he never saw Michael in a bad mood. I think that’s because Michael knew what he was doing and where he was going. He was going to God.
director general of laymen
I got to know Michael better during his last seven years, and it was such a grace to see him change. He was such an example to me on how to age with grace. He became so much more peaceful over the seven years.
During the last days of his life, I went to visit him and I said, “How about we say a prayer together?”
He said, “I haven’t said my rosary today. How about we pray the rosary together?”
It was late at night and I was tired but I said, “All right.”
There was a pause, and he said, “How about three rosaries?”
I groaned inwardly. “OK,” I said, “Let’s just start and see how far we get.”
When he started falling asleep after two decades, I was kind of grateful. I said, “Let’s just finish this decade and leave it at that.”
He said, “OK. That sounds good.”
I’ve been thinking about the hidden life. Michael’s funeral was so simple, the three songs that so spoke of him, and seeing Michael’s little body in the coffin and the quiet.
I started thinking about the last deaths we’ve had. They were kind of giants, people with major influence in the community. And I thought about Michael, and he gives me hope—hope for those of us who aren’t giants.
I’ve been trying to articulate it to myself for most of the day, and it’s like an affirmation of just being glad for a call and wanting very much to be faithful to it.
And being happy with that and not to worry at all about what kind of contribution I’m making to Madonna House or to the world and just to be happy that God called me to something, and to try be faithful to that.
I can’t express how grateful Michael’s life makes me. He was also a very fine person to be around.