by gary-foote on June 19, 2010

This past spring, I led a series of apologetics workshops for a high school diocesan youth conference in South Carolina. The overall theme for the conference was, “Legacy.” I enjoyed the opportunity to work with many teens and their youth ministers in equipping them to teach and defend their faith in a more effective way. When I was not presenting, I had the opportunity to listen to some of the other speakers and reflect on “Legacy.”

My first reflection focused on one of the main points of the conference: Our God is not a God of the dead, but a God of the living (see the Gospel of Mark 12:26-27). His legacy is one of life. Often times when we think of legacy, we think of what is left behind once someone leaves this life and enters into life eternal. This rule doesn’t apply to God though because He remains continually present on the earth.

God’s legacy is a legacy of true presence, and not only remembrance (see the Gospel of Matthew 28:20).  It is true that God is present everywhere, but there are two ways by which He makes Himself especially present to His beloved children that I primarily reflected on.  Jesus promises that the Father will send the Holy Spirit to “teach us everything” (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit has been sent not only as our guide and companion for our earthy journey, but as the very presence of God to dwell within us! God also makes Himself uniquely present to us in every one of the sacraments, and chiefly in the Eucharist. Jesus Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity are present in the Most Holy Eucharist, which we can receive on a daily basis! We do not simply remember the great things God has done throughout all of history, but we are privileged to continually live with Him through His legacy of true presence.

My second reflection was this: as humans, we do not share in the legacy of true presence that belongs to God. Our souls are eternal, and we can all pray and hope that someday we will be united together as one in the beatific vision that is Heaven. We will be remembered in history, but we will not continue to be continually present on the earth as God is. So the question that we have to ask is, “What will our legacy be?”

My hope is that there will be three things I am remembered for. Number one, I hope that my wife will always remember me as a good and loving husband. I know that I am not perfect and that my wife is a saint in the making for having to live with me day-in and day-out. My wish is that when I die, my wife will be able to say, “He loved me with all of his heart and always tried to lead me closer to God and His Church.” If that is what she is able to say, then I’ve fulfilled my vocation as a husband. Number Two, I hope that my children will be able to have many memories of the time we spent together praying, playing, and loving. My kids are extremely important to me. I am well aware that I am not the perfect father and make mistakes, but I hope that they will be able to say, “Dad always loved us and tried his best to be the best father he could be. He taught us about God and our faith, and we will continuously strive to become holier people because of his encouragement.” Number three, I hope that everyone else I come into contact will be able to say after I pass away, “Gary who?” I know at first glance, this may seem like a weird hope, but let me explain. I want to be transparent. I want to be able to always lead to God and His Church and “get out of the way” so tat the focus is never on me, but on God. It can be very tempting to want the most Facebook friends, Twitter followers, or dare I say it, tangible friends outside of social networking. I understand that I have a lot of work to do, but I am optimistic that by the end of my life, I might be able to full heartedly recite the words of St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me” (Galatians 2:20).


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