Friday, February 06, 2009

Michael Dubruiel, R.I.P.

I did not know Michael Dubruiel very well, though I did sometimes visit his website. I followed the postings of his wife, Amy Welborn, at her website, and I once defended Amy from a rather scurrilous and outrageous attack at the hands of someone by the name of Thomas Herron, but other than this most minimal of contact I knew next to nothing about Michael Dubruiel, other than that he was a faithful man, a good husband and father, and someone whose passing is to be mourned.

So I will mourn him. I will pray for the repose of his soul, and for the comfort and strengthening of his wife and family. I am reminded of a homily I once heard preached by the Right Reverend Robert Duncan, Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh, while he was still the Episcopal chaplain at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was on the occasion of the feast of St. Bartholomew. Fr. Duncan pointed out that we know very little about the Apostle Bartholomew, other than that he was faithful. That's not much to know about a person, but in the Christian context, it is quite enough. C. S. Lewis wrote, in his redoubtable essay "The Weight of Glory", that the most important promise offered to us in the New Testament is the promise that we will be glorified in Christ. He considers what "glory" means in this context, and he worries that it seems odd to look forward to something very like "fame" or "good reputation" if one is supposed to be a humble, self-effacing Christian. But this is not what it means to be glorified in Christ:
When I began to look into this matter I was shocked to find such different Christians as Milton, Johnson and Thomas Aquinas taking heavenly glory quite frankly in the sense of fame or good report. But not fame conferred by our fellow creatures--fame with God, approval or (I might say) "appreciation" by God. And then, when I had thought it over, I saw that this view was scriptural; nothing can eliminate from the parable the divine accolade, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." With that, a good deal of what I had been thinking all my life fell down like a house of cards...

...what I had mistaken for humility had, all these years, prevented me from understanding what is in fact the humblest, the most childlike, the most creaturely of pleasures--nay, the specific pleasure of the inferior: the pleasure of a beast before men, a child before its father, a pupil before his teacher, a creature before its Creator...and that is enough to raise our thoughts to what may happen when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope and nearly beyond belief, learns at last that she has pleased Him whom she was created to please. There will be no room for vanity then. She will be free from the miserable illusion that it is her doing.
In thinking about the passing of Michael Dubruiel I cannot think much about him, since I know so little about him. What I can think about him, because I do know this much, is that he was faithful, and so I can say--I hope, with my Lord--Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.

4 comments:

Christopher said...

I was shocked and saddened by the news; chiefly for Amy. Like yourself I only knew Michael by-way-of his wife.

If you can, pray for the repose of Thomas Herron's soul as well. From what I've heard he passed away last year.

Scott Carson said...

Thanks for reminding me of my duty to be charitable; I really need to work on that. I hope that the change I made to my post will serve as a starting point in that direction. I will, indeed, pray for all parties.

Christopher said...

I am sympathetic to your initial frusration with Herron -- I was on the receiving end of many of his attacks as well.

Just the same, our piddling disputes seemed to pale in comparison when I learning of his passing.

Mary said...

I want to join in pray for the soul of Michael Dubruiel.

Eternal rest, Michael. In the peace of Christ.

I also want to comment that I just today for the first time read the article by Tom Herron that commented in detail on the public and the more hidden life of Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn. I have known the story for some time and I tend to agree with the foundation of Mr. Herron's concerns.

I did not see the article in such a base light as others have over time. I truly do not think that Mr. Herron meant to do more than sound a warning that we not lionize our inability to keep promises, at the expense of those who do manage to keep their's, with the grace of state.

It is clear to me that in my lifetime alone, there are hundreds of priests, good men, holy men who have finished out their vocations in this life and moved on into eternal life without any special mention at all, many by now long forgotten, yet without them and their fidelity to their vocations there would be no Church at all.

Tom Herron took a great deal of heat at one time in his life for essentially telling the truth about a very sad situation that should be presented more in penance than in triumph.

May Mr. Herron also now be at peace.

Mary E. Lanser