Saviour Rizzo writes...
Amid the emotional sense of distress that gripped my consciousness on hearing the news of the death of my cousin, Fr Francis Abela Giusti OFM Cap., a flashback was triggered in my mind during which I tried to discover the hidden aspects of this Capuchin brother.
The portrait of Fr Francis that emerged in this flashback was one of human goodness and decency. Quite befittingly, during his funeral Mass held at the Holy Cross Church in Floriana where he had begun his duties as a Capuchin brother, the reading from the gospel referred to the seven works of corporal mercy, such as feeding the hungry and visiting prisoners.
In his pastoral and spiritual work with the sick and the elderly, Fr Francis tried to live up to these ideals of mercy. His genuine attention to other people and the simplicity of his approach were in accord with the spiritual life that befits a minister of God. His sense of energy and spirit was complemented by a disposition for treat people with extreme generosity and leniency. It was this disposition that allowed his heart to win over his mind and show a sense of decency and spirit that enabled him to bear happily the nuances of his pastoral work.
His motto seemed to have been to live one day a time and to connect to whomever he could. He was generous with his time and amiable in conversation. His sermons, delivered in his characteristic deep, resonant voice, spoke to the individual ear. Indeed, the gift of eloquence that he possessed was not utilised to attain the lofty heights of oratory rhetoric but to reach out to the congregation by helping them to understand the meaningfulness of human life and existence.
What gives every move its meaning tends to be either unknown to us or highly elusive. Maybe the legacy that people like Fr Francis leave behind in their death can serve as a good guide in our quest for a meaningful life.
In their reminiscences, the members of the clergy together with the relatives and friends who attended his funeral would include other traits in his portrait that I have omitted to mention. For any serious omissions, I apologise to his relatives to whom go my deepest condolences.