A requiem in his memory

It was a bad start to the day as I woke up with a heavy feeling of sadness. It did not seem right with the order of the universe that a Holy Man, pastor to thousands of laity, professor to hundreds of novices whom he taught at various seminaries, mentor to the many confreres in his congregation, counselor to scores of lost souls in this troubled world and most of all a good human being who touched and inspired people gently to live life by sacred virtues, should fall ill gravely, on the verge of being called by God to His heavenly abode.

The remorse I felt on waking up continued through the morning as I went through the motions of the day with the nagging thought that these could be his last days here on earth.

I shuddered to think that this bitter truth could become a reality any time from the updates I was getting on his condition. And by afternoon, as I was settling down for lunch, my worst fears were confirmed when my phone pinged. I read with sorrow the sad news of his passing away minutes earlier.

My mind raced back to the day, a month ago when I received a text message from him out of the blue. Opening the message I was shocked to read that he was seriously ill.  

Yet, the message touched me for, behind the bad news it also conveyed the sentiments of a holy man who did not question God’s plan, rather who accepted God’s will in humble submission and serenity. And he continued to live his last few days collaborating with God, as he had done all his life in his priestly vocation of 47 long and glorious years.

It was no ordinary vocation for this renowned priest from one of Bengaluru’s celebrated parish. Fr. Clement Campos was respected as a Catholic priest, famed as a preacher, admired as a singer, reputed as a teacher, revered as a Moral Theologian the world over and loved as a brother, friend, philosopher and guide.  

In his passing away there is a void that can never be filled, said one of his grief-stricken confreres at his funeral, disappointed that a valuable life had been taken away prematurely.

Even so, in his passing away, there was a message to the teeming crowd that came from far and wide to pay their last tribute that “in the end it’s not the years in life that count; it’s the life in the years.” For having put such inspiration in the 72 years of his life, this middle is a requiem in his memory.    

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