Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What I Want to Tell Them

I never fully appreciated the true meaning of the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, but God, in His infinite wisdom, displayed to me the meaning as only He can. This beautiful parable is especially meaningful to me right now, as I will relate.
1 For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; 4 and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’
8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ 9 When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. 10 When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:1-16)
My dad was in poor health for the past three years, and we steeled ourselves for his passing. I tried to share the word with him but dad was too worried about me. My health isn't so good either, but he kept having dreams about me dying, or me losing my job, and that distracted him when we talked. As his health deteriorated dad knew the end was drawing near, but the news I was receiving of his condition was optimistic and right up until the end I was being told "he's showing improvement."

Too soon it became apparent that this optimism was missed placed, and "improving" soon became comatose. Being half a continent away and on oxygen means travel for me is very difficult so I asked a friend who lived near to my folks check on him. My friend is a pastor and I'll call him Pastor Iuvenis. Pastor Iuvenis even baptized me in the intercoastal waterway a few years ago.

Just before Christmas Pastor Iuvenis went to visit dad at the rehab center and found him comatose so Pastor I. sat down and read the 23rd Psalm to dad, and when he was done he noticed that dad was awake. So Pastor I. asked dad "Do you know where you are going?" and he said that dad looked very worried and very clearly said "No."

I have a good idea what was going on through dad's mind. He was raised Roman Catholic and in case you didn't know, they do not teach a salvation of grace through faith, they teach a foul poison of salvation by works. They don't teach God's mercy but a damnable lie of punishment in purgatory even for those considered "saved". I can be sure that the thoughts going through dad's mind included things like "did I say enough rosaries?" and "Did I go to mass on enough First Fridays?" and "Did I properly confess every sin to a priest?" and "Did I perform the proper penance?" and "Did I do enough Eucharist?" not to mention the icons and other frippery that the RCC claims brings Salvation to the adherent. It's a damned lie of salvation through merit points and my poor dad lay alone, dying, ignored by the church he served his entire life, worrying if he said enough Hail Marys to escape the fires of purgatory for a few hours.

Then Pastor I. shared dad the Good News. He let dad know that faith in Jesus risen from the dead, accepting Him as his Lord and Savior is what God wants. And dad did, he accepted Jesus as his savior, and was saved. Pastor Iuvenis told me later that "it was all God", that the Holy Spirit entered my dad and dad was at peace.

On New Years day 2016 my dad, surrounded by his daughters and his wife of 60 years, graduated. He passed on to glory, at peace with the knowledge that he received the denarius promised by the landlord for a full days pay, even though he was only hired at the eleventh hour.  

I am now working on my Dad's eulogy which I will deliver in two days. I want to tell the story of the Laborers and the Vineyard, of how an eleventh hour conversion is just as good as a lifetime of service to God, but not to wait because we don't know when the eleventh hour is going to be. But I am a servant, not an elder, and I was asked to eulogize, not to give a sermon. So I won't give a sermon, at the ceremony I will mention that for unbelievers this is good bye, but for believers this is just a pause until we can see dad again. However after the ceremony there will be a reception, and I made no promises about what I would or wouldn't say there, and there I'll tell of a Vineyard and a denarius.

Praise be to God! And thank you Pastor Iuvenis for being the conduit through which the Holy Spirit reached my father.


  1. That is beautiful! Thank God for that. Gives me hope for the "hard cases" I was praying about this morning.

    1. Thank you Neil, this is one of those posts that just 'flowed' (I'm sure you know what I mean) so I know the Holy Spirit had a bigger hand in it than I did. And I came up with a way to put this in the eulogy -

      "So if you weep, weep for our own sadness and loss, not for Dad. If you know the parable of the Labrorers and the Vineyard take joy in the fact that dad was hired in the eleventh hour and he did get his denarius"

      That should put a crack in the ice to exploit later.

  2. What a treasure for you to know that your dad is safe and well. This story touched me deeply. Thank you for publishing it.