The other day I picked up the current edition of the "National Catholic Register" and saw an article on the front page that caught my attention. Apparently, a story about a Catholic father of seven sons who died while saving his 20 year old son after he fell into a septic tank has been making its way around the globe. It is quite a story. The son, Joseph, who has Down Syndrome, fell through an old cover on a septic tank on the family's property. The father, Thomas, jumped in to save him. He had told one of his workers to call 911 in the meantime. While waiting for 911, Thomas told the worker that he would lift Joseph up while the worker pulled him out. As they reported in the paper, "As he lifted Joseph up, his eyes closed and he collapsed into the tank." They were unable to revive him. The son, thankfully, survived.
The paper quoted many people saying that Thomas was a very devoted father to his seven sons. They also told how he was the kind of man who was always willing to help wherever there was a need. The story of Thomas and his life of giving and his devotion to his family is going around the globe.
After reading this, I immediately thought about another tragedy that happened to a very similar sounding man, also named Thomas. It struck me that the same message was being spread again. In both cases, we are presented with a father who was very giving and to whom his family meant everything. In both cases, their tragic deaths and their triumphs in life are being spread around the globe.
It seems to me that this message of selfless giving by men of large families is something that needs to be spread far and wide. It seems to me that God is asking some very special men to give up their lives in order to spread this very important message. Hopefully, the message is being received by all of the fathers out there who need to hear it.
Eternal rest grant unto them, and may perpetual light shine upon them, and may their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.