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Four Latin Words My Father Taught Me

My dad knew only four Latin words: "Tempus fugit. Memento mori." These are also the first four Latin words I learned from him. "Time flies. Remember death." These words he never forgot. They gave him focus in his life, and I must say, because of him, gave me focus in my own.

My dad lived a simple but fruitful life. He preached by example, rarely by words. He influenced many men in our town to join the Knights of Columbus which he helped establish in our parish (where I think he learned the "Tempus fugit . . . ").

Dad was a prayerful man. One of his favorite prayers is the Trisagio, an ancient prayer of the Church which is addressed to the Most Holy Trinity: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us," which he prayed during Holy Week in the middle of the night.

He was a devoted member of the "Adoracion Nocturna" (Evening Adoration). This brought him closer to the Lord as he went with his fellow adorers before Jesus in the monstrance the whole Saturday night once a month.

He loved to be one of the "apostoles" during Holy Week in our church in San Isidro. As San Andres, he was one of those apostles in their robes whose feet were washed at the Mass on Holy Thursday, and joined in the Good Friday and Easter processions and liturgies. He enjoyed his role as an apostle immensely.

As I remember my dad, long gone, it is now time to again put these words in the forefront of my consciousness through the Ash Wednesday reminder: "Remember man that you are dust and to dust you shall return" and the additional reminder: "Repent and be faithful to the Gospel."

We are about to go into the holy season of Lent again. We are asked to spend more time with the Lord in prayer, perform acts of sacrifice and fasting, and do almsgiving as we follow our Lord Jesus on His via crucis, His way of the cross, to the the mount of crucifixion where He accomplished the supreme sacrifice for our salvation, and with His resurrection, makes it possible for us to be raised from the dust and join Him in eternal glory, happiness and peace.

"Tempus fugit. Memento mori." I feel that these four Latin words are Dad's most important legacy to me and to his loved ones. In the midst of confusion and challenges in this world, the values they represent will guide me in my life.

Thank you, Dad!#


"It is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Cor 2:9

In the photo above: Dad is the 5th 'apostol' standing. Looks like he is wearing a deacon stole.

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