As he lay on his hospital deathbed in Melbourne, an Australian Marist Brother told his gathered friends and relatives the story of his spirituality.
It came from a personal experience he had a few years ago, when he met the “Flying Rodleighs” after a circus performance in Freiburgh, Germany.
He told them: “One day I was sitting with Rodleigh, a trapeze artist with a circus group, talking about his flying through the air with the greatest of ease”
He explained, “As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher. You and the public might think that I am the great star of the trapeze act,
but the real star is my catcher, Joe. He has to be there for me with split-second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump.”
“How does it work?” I asked.
“Well“, Rodleigh said, “the secret is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher, everything. When I fly to Joe, I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands
and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catcher.”
“You do nothing?” I asked, surprised.
“Nothing!” Rodleigh repeated. “The worst thing that a flyer can do is to catch the catcher. I am not supposed to catch Joe.
If I grabbed Joe’s wrists, I might break them or he might break mine and that would be the end of us both.
A flyer has to fly and a catcher has to catch, and the flyer has to trust with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.”
When Rodleigh said this with so much conviction, the words of Jesus flashed through my mind:
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”
Dying is trusting in the Catcher. Caring for the dying is saying:
“Don’t be afraid. Remember, you are the partner of the Son of God. He will be there when you make your long jump.
Don’t try to grab him. He will grab you! Just stretch out your arms and trust!”
— Br Brian Horton, FMS