A few months ago, The Christophers recognized Father David T. Link with our James Keller Award at the annual Christopher Awards ceremony. Father Link became a priest late in life, and now serves as chaplain for several Indiana State prisons.
In a book about his life entitled “Camerado, I Give You My Hand,” author Maura Poston Zagrans shared this story about a Mass Father Link held for inmates at one of the prisons on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since we celebrate that feast today, here is that excerpt from the book.
After the introductory rites and the readings, it is time for Father Dave to give his sermon. The chapel is steamy and the men are still. Father Dave walks to the lectern, gives his notes a quick review, looks out upon his congregation, and begins.
“We all have a human mother who gave us birth, of course. In some cases, there is another human mother who raised us.”
Around the room, heads are nodding.
“But we also have a spiritual mother who watches over us every day, no matter where we are.”Long pause.
He sketches what little facts are known about the mother os Jesus. She was a young girl, he says, and she lived in a backwater village, a place of poverty and little education.
“In essence, our spiritual mother was a teenager from the ghetto. And she had a tough life.”
He lists the hardships that Mary knew.
“Today we celebrate the solemnity of this woman being taken directly into heaven. And we wonder, Why? Why did God take Mary directly into heaven?
“Think about it. This was His mom. And He had the power, so why not? Maybe He wanted to save Mary from the sorrow of death. That’s probably part of it. It may have been to reward Mary for having endured great sorrow in her lifetime. That’s probably also a part of it.
“But most likely God assumed Mary into heaven because He wants us to know for sure that our spiritual mother is in heaven, where she is caring for us. Be assured that right now Mary is looking down on this chapel with pride and love for all who have come to honor her son.”
At this point his shoulders drop, he steps back, and his voice takes on a new tone.
“To me it is amazing how little of what Mary said has been captured in Scripture. Perhaps the most famous are the words she spoke at the wedding feast of Cana. She told the servants, ‘Do whatever He tells you.’
“Her advice was not meant just for the servers at a wedding reception. Her advice applies to all of us who are the spiritual sons and daughters of Mary.”
Father Dave scans the chapel. When he is satisfied that he has made eye contact with as many upturned faces as possible, he says, “Do whatever He tells you.”