“It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13: 7-8).
This past Sunday, I witnessed these words in flesh and bone. In the choir loft where I sat with the choir, there sat a stranger by the edge; he was an elderly man, quiet, still, and alone. He avoided eye contact with all of us who passed him. Who was this man?
About 10 minutes before the mass began, he stood up, approached the organist, and took out from his folder a music score. The organ then began to play; and right away, I recognized it, and soon after, he began to sing: “Ave Maria …” It was a heartfelt performance of Schubert’s Ave Maria. Who was this elderly man, with an aged tenor voice, with a hump on his back, and with full grey hair singing passionately in this old gothic church?
When he finished, the organist gave him a nod, and he slowly and quietly left the choir loft.
I looked at everyone in the choir; we all had the same amazed and curious look on our faces.
After the end of the mass, when all the hymns had been sung, we asked the organist who this elderly man was. He told us that he was a parishioner at the Church many many years ago and that he met his wife in this Church, that they got married in this Church, but soon after, her funeral was also in this Church. We asked when that was, and he said: “she died 50 years ago on this day.”
Right there and then, I remembered these words: “Love never ends.”
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