A year ago, on that morning of July 5th in a hospital in Mumbai, a voice spoke, “You’re free Father Stan!”
“Free? How can I be free, I’ve been languishing in prison for over eight months! Hey!”
“I’m supposed to be deaf, but I can hear you clearly!”
“Look at your hands Stan, they no longer shake with the dreaded Parkinson’s. Look at your body, it’s not that of an old man laid out in prison. Stan you are free and I’m taking you to a glorious reception that awaits you!”
“I asked for a straw and sipper, where did I keep it!”
“Throw it away Stan. Where you are going, there won’t be a need for such tools. Tools, that these jail authorities took fifty days to give you. Come let’s leave this stinking hole, and fly like me, through those walls, through those iron bars. You’re free!”
And through the roof of a prison that could no longer imprison him two angels flew heavenward. A young Stan looked down and for a moment he felt a tear, but gentle hands brushed them away, “They will be looked after Stan. The very One who sent you to serve them, will send others who will care for them like you did!”
And Stan knew that, that was true. He knew a God above had through His saints like Teresa and himself, sent many to look after those who had no one to love them and he smiled and flew with his new pair of wings.
A little angel up in Heaven seeing the heavenly choir being readied asked, “Who is it that is coming? Some emperor, king or president?”
The other angels smiled as one a little older said, “Stan who comes today, and for whom we sing is greater than a king or president. He served the poorest of the poor, and gave up his life for them.”
And as the two angels, Father Stan and the angel accompanying him, came near the shores of heaven, the heavenly choir made up not of the finest sopranos or altos, basses or tenors, but of tribals who had gone before Stan, and who had insisted they sing to welcome him in. And as they sang in joyful crescendo, their voices rising high, Stan smiled, then laughed out loud, he knew those voices and knew he’d come home to those he loved.
And then there was a mighty hush, as a Voice beautiful and magnificent rose above the silence, “Well done good and faithful servant!” And nail pierced hands embraced a joyful Stan Swamy as the choir broke forth again in welcome exultation..!
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