The Immaculate Conception church was filled with Danny’s family and friends. There were people of all walks of life, all ages, and all races. As much as we mourned his death-we celebrated his twenty-nine years of life. “A beautiful life that came to an end. He died as he lived, everyone’s friend.”
As I listened to the priest I realized he was using Danny to help the rest of us think about our own lives. He told us that day in and day out when we intentionally use what God has given us to make our world a much better place – we are recognized as Saints. He went on to say that although Danny faced challenges and some pretty difficult life circumstances, his gift was that no matter what, he was always happy, and because he was always happy – he made everyone around him happy!
After sharing that thought, with a smile on his face, the priest announced we were all there to honor Saint Jose Daniel Martinez. And then he said this – “If Danny were standing here beside me right now, he would tell me “Father, do not make me a Saint” – and I would tell him, “Danny, I didn’t make you a Saint – YOU made you a Saint.”
I drove home revisiting fond memories of my friend and the thousands of Special Olympics athletes that have touched my life in ways I can’t even explain. I think they are all Saints and when given the opportunity, they are eager every day to make all corners of the world a better place.