Opus Dei


King David: That soldier who laid his hands on the Ark – he was only trying to be helpful.

Nathan the Prophet: It is not for us to question the ways of the Lord.

King David: I question nothing, yet the sun was hot that day, the man had been drinking wine, all were excited when the ark began to fall. Is it not possible that the man might have died naturally from other causes?

Nathan the Prophet: All causes are of God.

Screenplay, David and Bathsheba (1951)



Not that Opus Dei.  When my son Larry died on May 19, 2013 he had just completed high school on the Friday before he died.  He had one day of rest and then he died.  I had always wondered about what work I could find for Larry to do after he graduated from high school.  Because of his autism he could never have held down a regular job.  I planned for him to come to my office, although I wondered just what we could have him do.  It is quite possible he would have spent most of his days in a spare office room, watching TV and playing computer videos.  My secretary Chris painted the office room a deep orange, a color chosen by Larry, and I purchased a large new couch and had it put into the room.

Larry never spent a day in the room.  I assumed that God had work for my son to perform in Heaven, and I thought it had something to do with speech.  Larry died on Pentecost which struck home with me.  In life he was only able to answer yes and no questions and state the names of items.  It was impossible to carry on a normal conversation with him.  In the next world I was certain this would not be the case, so I had inscribed on Larry’s tombstone, “In Heaven He Speaks of God’s Love.”

At the time of my son’s death, my secretary Chris was recovering from her first bout with breast cancer.  The cancer came back in November of last year and Chris died from it on August 28 of this year.  She worked throughout as she battled this terrible illness, taking daily naps on the couch in what would have been Larry’s room.  Hours before she died, Chris was talking to Larry, she having been quite fond of my son during his life.

A mass was said in my parish for Larry yesterday, a date chosen at random by our priest, one of several masses we have had said for Larry since his passing.  I was stunned by the first and third readings:

Thus says the LORD:
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water.

Isaiah 35: 4-7

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Mark 7: 31-37

I see the hand of God in this.  Whatever the tasks assigned by God to my son in Heaven are, I suspect they involve his speech, and I would not be surprised if my secretary Chris is not now aiding him in this work as she assisted me in my work here for 30 years.  All that I have seen through this terrible and mysterious event of my son’s death, and what has transpired since, convinces me of the truth of this statement by Job:

[1] Then Job answered the Lord, and said:

[2] I know that thou canst do all things, and no thought is hid from thee.

[3] Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have spoken unwisely, and things that above measure exceeded my knowledge.

[4] Hear, and I will speak: I will ask thee, and do thou tell me.

[5] With the hearing of the ear, I have heard thee, but now my eye seeth thee.

[6] Therefore I reprehend myself, and do penance in dust and ashes

Job 42:  1-6

Nathan the Prophet:  No man can ever hope to know the real nature of God, but He has given us a glimpse of His face.

Screenplay, David and Bathsheba (1951)

More to explorer


  1. How sad, but somehow a deeper beauty comes through. What does a person do without God as the center of all things?

  2. Yes. In your first report to us of Chris’s death, you told us of her talking with Larry in her last days in this vale. That really “spoke” to my heart . I told a couple of different people who are now dealing with the mystery of death about how your son, disabled as you knew him, was Able to bring peace and help to Chris and her family from heaven. I will give them this update. We trust God’s marvelous provision.

  3. I suspect Larry watches loved ones plus certain autistic people in various countries and intercedes for them and for others assigned to his heart. It’s not work in Heaven since the onerous doesn’t enter there. It’s extremely delightful interceding which Christ does until history ends as said here:

    Hebrews 7:24-26 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

    24 But this, for that He continueth for ever, hath an everlasting priesthood,
    25 Whereby He is able also to save for ever them that come to God by him; always living to make intercession for us.

  4. Donald McClarey said; “I see the hand of God in this.”. Absolutely!
    His love is not held back from you our your wife in relationship to this difficult event. To those with little or no faith it might seem that God had taken your love away, yet that is not the case. He, God, loves Larry so much that one more hour without him in Heaven was not an option. This grace you share with us is proof of His Love for you and your whole family, including Larry. The readings, the conversations Chris had with Larry.

    The room you set up for Larry was love, and the author of that love said, Wait until you see the room I’ve prepared for our son Larry. You will see it. Your wife too. For this room is filled with memories that brought the greatest smiles to Larry. This room is overflowing with love, and the speech Larry is preparing to give you when you go home, will overflow with river’s of precious peace this other room called your heart. He has so much to tell you. So very much.

    God love you and yours.

  5. Orange, Chris’ labor of love, Pentecost, Tongues of Fire, autism, Chris speaking to Larry, the reality of Heaven — just a few of my thoughts about your beloved son, Larry, and your devoted secretary, Chris. I would probably hang a Crucifix in that room that you and Chris prepared for Larry.

    Your writings about Larry and Chris give me hope and courage in this Vale of Tears. The thought of Heaven brings strength to me. May God continue to comfort you and your family.

  6. Mr. McClarey, the good Lord, in His infinite wisdom, saw fit to burden you and your family with the cross of Larry’s autism, a cross that he also had to bear. As you know, life is not fair and God decides when it is time to leave this world. Larry provided you and your family with joy that cannot be replicated and is worth more than all the gold in the world.

    I can sypathize in a small way. We have lost three babies due to miscarriage. Only the last one were we able to bury and the only item we have is an ultrasound picture of a little baby with no heartbeat.

    Every so often, I think of my dad and my uncle and all the other relatives I have lost over the years. I wich my sons could ahve known these people. I am grateful to have two healthy, normal little boys. It would have been nice to have a larger family bout one needs to learn to be happy with what God gives him.

    Have a great Labor Day.

    I know hot weather isn’t your favorite thing, so this will soon pass. As for me, I’m a little sad to know the warm weather will soon go, because we are fast approaching the time of the year when the leaves fall off the trees, the flowers will die and the fruit and grain will be completely harvested. This coincides with the end of the liturgical year when Holy Mother Church remembers those who have gone before us and reminds us that death is a certainity to us all.

  7. Mr. McClarey, thank you so much for this beautiful posting. The Lord brought me to your blog and it gives me so much joy and sustenance. I lost my dear mother a year and 1/2 ago at the age of 90. Shortly after that, my brilliant, sweet husband was diagnosed with Alzheimers at age 64. and now I’m having serious medical problems as well. My husband and I weren’t blessed with children and unfortunately, after my mother’s death, one of my beloved nieces stopped talking to me over something I said to her mother (my sister) on the day of my mother’s death (I asked her to please stop b*tching about the Catholic Church for just this one day). My nieces were always like my children and I doted on them all their lives. Now our families no longer speak despite many attempts on my part. My sister has been suffering from some serious, unaddressed mental issues for some time. They are all hard-core atheists, to the point that they believe that all churches everywhere should be destroyed. I’m so sorry for them because I can’t imagine what they go through without the solace of the Lord, especially now because they adored my mother and we were such a close family. I pray for all of them constantly.

    Sorry for blathering on, can you tell I’ve been a shut-in for the past 5 weeks? I’m having surgery again next week, hope this fixes my medical issue. Anyway, I just want to tell you how much your blogs means to me, and I’m sure to many others. I copied and pasted this blog entry into MS Word so that I can refer back to it. It fills my heart with joy to think of Larry & Chris, happy and without pain. And I thank the Lord for giving you the very special gift of being able to find just the right words to put things into a clarifying and spiritually meaningful perspective.

  8. Don, I knew that Larry’s h.s. diploma was a major accomplishment. After reading today about his limited speaking ability, I understand how major. Whenever you mention Larry, I always think of your earlier description of reading to him in early morning, the daily father and son time that was so special.
    My adult sons are arriving today for a brief visit. The older one is in from the west coast and his schedule of work and socializing on the east coast keeps changing which is frustrating for my husband and me. However after reading this post I’m going to let the irritants go. Only God knows how many of us will be at the next family gathering.
    Penguin Fan, I have been told that parents whose children pre-decease them never get over the loss of a child no matter the stage of development or the age. I am sorry for your and your wife’s many losses. I do enjoy the change of seasons. The green is gone, but the colors of fall are awesome and the peace and beauty of the landscape after a snowfall reminds me that God is omnipresent. What a wonderful plan of God’s to schedule the birth of His Son in the bleakness of winter. In fact my favorite Christmas hymn is In The Bleak Midwinter.
    Back to the present, all I hope can enjoy the holiday.

  9. I’m just finishing up a novena for your secretary and everyone affected by her passing. (I might be on Day 10. I always lose track.)

  10. CAM, I concur that each season has its charms. One thing about a winter snowall is the quiet. No birds, no crickets. I find amazing when there is a night-time snowfall and the sky isn’t dark. From where I live, just such a snowfall blots out the sounds of the planes approaching the Pittsburgh airport and the traffic on I-79. Having said that, I think I can stand to be amazed by a January and February where every day it’s in the 60s and 70s, like where my brother lives in Tampa.

    I hope everybody enjoyed their Labor Day. I took my oldest son to the wave pool, which was packed due to the hot weather and it being the last day of the season for the outdoor swimming pools. He wore me out.

    There are a lot of important feast days coming up. Tomorrow, Sepetmber 8, is the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. September 12 is the Most Holy Name of Mary, in commemoration of the victory of the Christian forces at Vienna over the Ottoman Turks on September 11, 1683 (Veni, vici, Deus vincit – King Jan III Sobieski). September 14 is the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross. September 15 is Our Lady of Sorrows. Ember Days are September 23 through September 26 and the Feast of St. Michael is September 29 (the Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael in the Ordinary Form calendar).

  11. Penquin Fan, I vaguely remember seeing Ember Days noted on the calendar and church bulletins. To refresh my memory I read the history of them at the Catholic Encyclopedia which led to opening more threads. Thanks for noting the various feast days. I knew about the Winged Polish Hussars and Jan Sobieski’s victory over the Turks in Vienna, but had forgotten the actual date. Our youngest son’s birthday is Sept 11. He’s part Polish and my mom always said he looked like Karol Wojtyla. Since 9-11 he hates his birthday; now he knows how important another Sept 11 was.

  12. Thanks Don for your profound witness of faith, hope and charity. May God confer many blessings on you and all your love ones. And may God help us to accept His will in our lives and sorrows as we try to understand the many benefits of His often mysterious actions.

  13. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post Donald. God only takes the best. May we be half as pleasing in Gods eyes as Larry and Chris. His wonder and love shines through His faithful servants. If only to keep us going here through our own “Vale of Tears”.

  14. “Hours before she died, Chris was talking to Larry, she having been quite fond of my son during his life”

    Don, this is not the first time I have been told of a Christian, in the throes of death, talking to another Christianwho had died earlier. God is so awesome; He is so good to us! Even in our very death, He can use us to provide comfort and joy to others. Thank you for this post.

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