This is my friend Cyrus who is now in Heaven.
Cyrus became known to me a few years ago when he walked into the hall at the Catholic church and entered a class for people interested in becoming Catholic. He didn't look like the typical man wanting to know more about the faith. He had long hair, seemed to be somewhat wild, and smelled of alcohol. But as we went around the room and each individual shared a little about themselves and why they were there, that was when I knew there was something very special about this man.
Cyrus stated that he had not been living a very good life, that he was a musician and a drunk, and that he recently had a vision from Mother Mary. He stated that Mary appeared to him and told him that he needed to make some changes and that there was a greater purpose for him. He stated that the vision was so profound he knew it wasn't a dream, but real. He further stated that he didn't know anything about faith or religion but knew that Mary was "Catholic" so he needed to go to the Catholic church.
That night was the beginning of my relationship with Cyrus and also his introduction with the Catholic faith. Each week for the next year, Cyrus would show up for class, often smelling of alcohol. It was evident to everyone that he had an addiction, and he would be the first to point out what a failure in life he was. Yes, most people would of called him a bum, but there was something so very special about him.... It was his humility. He never asked for anything, never gave an excuse, and was always so thankful for even a kind word. He had such deep and profound questions about Mary, God, Heaven, the Saints......
It wasn't long and Cyrus completed his studies and entered the catholic church at the Easter Vigil. His parents later told me at his funeral that the only thing in life Cyrus ever completed was the RCIA program and becoming Catholic.
As Cyrus joined the Catholic family at Our Lady of Mercy Church, he still remained an alcoholic, but he would be seen at Mass from time to time, and was a regular attendee at the Good Friday Stations of the Cross - walking across town carrying the cross. Anyone who met Cyrus immediately saw beneath the outer shell and could see his holiness. Yes, he was a sinner, a drunk, and you couldn't miss seeing his sin, but he was humble, he never tried to hide his sin, he just picked up his cross and carried it with him everyday trying to be the best person he could.
His presence affected others. Here was a young man, handsome, and talented, but wounded and debilitated by an addiction, a disease. Yes, he had so much potential, but he couldn't think past just getting through the day. You wanted to help this man...... Yet, he never asked for help. He knew he didn't amount to anything in this world, he was a loser, he was a drain on society, a drunk. He often looked sad and eyes often fixed with a downward gaze.
Yet - People liked him..... There was something about him that was so real and true. I can remember a lady in the confessional line at church say that she was standing in line next to Cyrus and that as they waited their turn he openly shared his struggles with her. She commented "He openly shared his struggles with me with such humility. I remember thinking if I could have the same convictions of my failings and love and submission to Jesus as Cyrus, I would be Blessed. He inspired me.”
I also recall a very proud man saying with tears in his eyes "We all could see his sin, but we all have sins, ours are just hidden. Cyrus was the most humble man I ever knew..... If I could only be as humble as Cyrus."
He didn't even realize that he had touched so many people in very profound ways.
At his funeral, the church was packed... Not with an abundance of childhood friends of relatives, there were less than 10 of them, but with people from Our Lady of Mercy Parish. These new friends were as young as toddlers and many senior citizens, and every age in between. This young man, what society would of called "useless," and forgotten by many, had a special mission in life. He was an instrument in God's hands, that through the public appearance of his struggle, and the purity of his heart and sincere desire to be a Christian, and the extreme effort it took to become Catholic, he was an authentic witness, a saintly witness, of perseverance, humility, love, forgiveness, and honor to so many around him.
Cyrus died at the age of 31...... yet his mission was fulfilled and he converted and inspired many souls here on earth. Thank you Cyrus for teaching us so much..... Your pain is now gone. We love you!