Love Languages — Funeral for Audrey Stoik, 84

On behalf of St. Paul’s Catholic Church, I offer you my condolences on the passing of Audrey, one of our well-known and well-loved parishoners. During this challenging time, for you who know and love Audrey best and for everyone in our country, I am pleased and honored that we can offer this public funeral Mass for her soul and for yours’.

Have you ever heard of The Five Love Languages? They were first presented under that title in a 1992 book of the same name. The premise of the Five Love Languages is that we express and receive some forms of love more readily than other forms, and that different individuals tend to prefer differing love languages over others. What are these five general categories of love? They are: Gift Giving, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Affectionate Touch, & Acts of Service. What are your favorite love languages? Perhaps later you can try guessing the favorites of the people in your lives. The reason I mention all of this is because particular love languages came to my mind as I heard multiple stories about Audrey.

Her top two love languages seemed to be Gift Giving & Acts of Service. For example, when Audrey prepared meals for her family, she was loving them through both service and gifts. I’m told you never left her house without receiving something: cookies, brownies, muffins, potato dumplings, caramel popcorn, French dressing, or something else. If you asked something of her, whether it be making dozens of cookies for your wedding or making flip flops for the graduation class, she would get it done. The many afghan blankets she weaved and gifted continue to warm homes and families. Audery, even through trials, cared for nine children and her husband. In nine years, she and Frank had eight of their nine kids. She sacrificed for them all in many ways, for instance, driving a manual transmission milk truck through the countryside to the dairies to make some extra money for the family. One day, she delivered milk in the morning and delivered one of her children in the afternoon.

What is the source of such sacrificial love? What is the power empowering self-gifting love? That source and power why we are gathered here today for Audrey, rather than somewhere else. As St. Paul’s writes, “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly.” That is service and gift. And Jesus not only died for us, but rose from the dead before us, and calls each of us to follow him. Jesus declares, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Whenever we come to God’s house, he wants us to come as his true family, true friends. This first requires our true conversion but Jesus desires we never have us leave his house without receiving a precious gift; the food of a meal and sacrifice which is his very Self. By the Holy Eucharist at Mass, Jesus loves us using all five love languages together:

Words:  “This is my body, given up for you.”
Time:  “Could you not [stay] one hour with me?”
Touch:  He places himself into our hands.
Service:  He offers himself up for us.
Gift:  He gives himself to us as a gift.

Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. When we approach God, in intimacy and likeness, we approach through him. So do not let your hearts be troubled. Audrey’s love reflects Christ’s love and our saving Lord has been its source.

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