By Tom Quiner

My late mother in law

My late mother in law

My mother-in-law, Ann, lived with me for fifteen years.

I know this kind of arrangement wouldn’t work for everyone, but it did for Karen and me. Mom was truly one of my best friends.

She died at home, in Karen’s arms, one year ago today. Her 91 year old body was just plain worn out. She was ready to meet Jesus.

What defines a person?

Our culture says it is our skin color, our gender, or our sexual orientation.

Others with a little more depth suggest that it is our character.

For my mother-in-law, one could say mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife, Republican.

These are a start.

I would suggest that for Ann, Holy Eucharist defined her. She lived her life to receive the Lord.

Towards the end of her life when she could hardly eat anything, she could only ingest a tiny, tiny piece of the Body of Christ. Anyone who witnessed her receiving the Lord could not help but be moved. Her Catholic faith animated every aspect of her life. She was a beautiful witness to her faith.

The last Mass she attended was the Assumption of Mary Mass in August of 2015. Karen and I put her in her wheel chair, carried her down the stairs, rolled her to the car, and took her to Mass.

She was literally euphoric.

Since then, she enjoyed Mass on EWTN, followed by Holy Communion, which Karen brought home to her from Mass.

The world defines people superficially. Mom understood that it is the soul that counts, and that a human soul requires supernatural nourishment.

When that tiny crumb of communion wafer entered her tiny body, Mom could feel the body, soul, and divinity of Christ warm her soul and renew her spirits. She suddenly felt very large.

A priest said something very profound once: if you were the only person that had ever been born, Christ would have still died on the cross for your sins.

Because of that, Mom lives. I look forward to seeing her again one day.

What an important legacy she leaves behind: let Holy Communion define us; not the world.

We are the Holy Communion people.

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