According to Fr. Paul, Lt. Col. Ralph M Whitton (Ret.), who passed away on September 28, 2011, has no faith. Not only that, but during his homily at the Memorial Mass held at St Joseph’s the morning of October 8, 2011, the priest also stated that Ralph is without hope. None of Ralph’s family members, the sisters, residents, or visitors gathered in the Little Sisters of the Poor chapel appeared scandalized by these declarations, especially once Fr. Paul explained why both statements are true.
Ralph was a man of faith during his life, but he doesn’t have or need faith when he’s now in the Presence of the Lord. Knowledge has taken the place of faith. Ralph no longer needs hope as he is with God right now in all His glory.
All that remains in Ralph now of the three tremendous gifts St. Paul talks about of faith, hope, and love is love. Ralph’s love for the Lord, his family and friends and their love for him is what remains. Everything else has passed away—even the need for faith and hope—for now Ralph is with the Source of Perfect Love, wanting for nothing at all.
At the bottom of the prayer card for Lt. Col. Ralph M. Whitton (Ret.) is a quote. "In the U.S. Army Field Manual it reads: 'Moral Courage is as important as physical courage' It says: 'If you believe you are right after sober and considered judgment, hold your position.'"
As many could attest, Ralph kept his focus on Christ in life and held his position of being a Christian and growing closer to the Lord throughout his 93 years. When he entered Little Sisters of the Poor, it impressed Fr. Paul that Ralph came to him for spiritual direction, rather than "coasting along" in his late years. He always kept going and kept growing. He's certainly a model for all Christians.
Lord, thank You for the many witnesses of the love, faith, and hope you provide for us. Please comfort those mourning the loss of loved ones, and encourage them with the promise that the love of God and that love which is shared between them remains.