Essential Conversation — Funeral Homily for Marcel Sobotta, 86

By Fr. Victor Feltes

Marcel’s family moved here to Bloomer when he was just three years old. And back then, starting out, the only language he knew was Polish. Marcel had to learn how to speak English here, partly from his friends, who reportedly taught him how to say useful words like “potato.” Consider how essential practicing this new language was for his life. How isolated would his more than eighty years of life on earth have been, if Marcel had never practiced such conversation?

About Marcel, Beverly and their children have shared many memories. Of his love for his wife and kids, grandkids and great grandkids. Of his delight in farming and gardening. Of his work ethic at the dairy and driving school bus. Of his raising the beagles and rabbits. Of his joy in fishing and hunting in God’s creation. Of his frustration with The Green Bay Packers. But the particular aspect which stood out to me most is what his family shared about Marcel’s life of prayer.

Marcel prayed at every meal time and prayed every single night. He would kneel down by his bedside and was not ashamed to let his children see it. In fact, he taught his children to do the same. They tell me he was very faithful to God. Prayer, it seems, was a constant throughout Marcel’s life. When I visited him with Beverly, just days before he died, to give him the Holy Eucharist and the anointing for the sick, he joined us in the prayers as he was able, and he was happy. Marcel had learned and practiced the language of prayer.

Prayer is simply a conversation with our friends in heaven. Prayer is how we talk to God. And through the important practice of prayer, a Christian becomes more and more conformed to Christ and shares in his blessedness. The Christian who prays recognizes their poverty in spirit, that they need God. The Christian who prays will mourn the evils of this world, for Jesus will share with them his heart, and there is much to mourn. The Christian who prays meekly asks the Lord to intervene with his wise solutions, for “man’s wrath does not accomplish the righteousness of God” and “his ways are above our ways.” The Christian who prays increasingly hungers and thirsts for righteousness, within themselves and others, for Christ calls us all to be holy saints. The Christian who prays grows merciful, because they know they have received great mercy. The Christian who prays is clean of heart, desiring one thing, God, above all. And the Christian who prays is a peacemaker, nurturing peace within themselves and for all around them.

Connected to Christ in daily prayer, we no longer live an isolated human life, cut off from deeper meaning and purpose, settling for small potatoes. Our Lord has a purpose for you and has prepared a feast for you. Jesus says in the Book of Revelation, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come to him and dine with him and he with me.” Behold, he stands at your door and knocks. He knocks at the door of your soul, and prayer is how you open the door to him. Blessed is he who opens that door, for consolation, the Kingdom, and the vision of God await. May we learn this valuable lesson from Marcel’s lived example.

One Response to “Essential Conversation — Funeral Homily for Marcel Sobotta, 86”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    Yes, yes and yes!

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