My Dad was born 100 years ago today, on September 23, 1916.
He was born in Italy, Castellonorato di Formia, Latina Province.
Remembering My Dad, Giuseppe Lino DeMarco …
A man who didn’t know my Father spoke at his funeral service. This was not my choice but that’s the way it happened. (Jesus said “my kingdom is not of this world” and therefore we pilgrims suffer.) The words spoken by this stranger were typical funeral formalities with bits of information given to him about my Dad thrown in. The words spoken that day in no way revealed to anyone who my father was or the reality of his life. To the undiscerning my father was just an old man that died. But there was so much more to his life and death. I want to tell some of that story here.
My father first heard the Gospel when he was in his 70’s. He did not respond favorably. He did not like the conflict and division caused by God’s Word within the family. He was born in Italy (Castellonorato di Formia, Latina Province) where the Roman Catholic Church “rules” and he told me he had never before heard the things that I was sharing with him from the Bible! (That’s something to think about in the very ecumenical climate of our day that tells us that Rome preaches the true Gospel.) As a result of the Gospel witness he received, my Dad began to read the the Scriptures for the first time in his life, and that’s a good thing. After reading 1st and 2nd Timothy he told me in his thick Italian accent that they were “perfect”.
My dad was a good father, the best he knew how to be. I’ll tell you a little about his life.
Growing up …
His family was poor and often food was scarce. It was a long time before he had a proper pair of shoes. His mother died when he was only ten years old. Certainly not an easy or pleasant childhood.
Years later, as an adult, he had to bury (literally) his only sister. It was said that she died of a “broken heart” thinking her fiance had died in the war. Can you imagine her fiance’s heartbreak when he returned home from the war only to find his beloved bride to be had been buried … buried in her wedding dress.
Sad, sad, sad.
Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted but sorrow and suffering does not absolve anyone from their sins, only the blood of Jesus can do that, and Jesus offers that salvation freely to all who repent and believe. He sends the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to all repentant believers.
My father never said the words I wanted so badly to hear … “Don’t worry about me daughter, I am saved, and I will go and be with the Lord when I die. I’ll see you again on the other side.” He didn’t say that. He didn’t say that. Oh how I wanted him to say that, but he didn’t. I was disappointed, and the Lord knows that. A Scripture came to mind one day as my father’s life was quickly coming to an end. That Scripture was … Psalm 89:1 – I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations .
I believe the Lord was saying … “Trust Me”. Surely I do trust Him.
The Lord gave me such an intense love for my dad in his latter days. I believe it was truly a work of the Holy Spirit in my heart. My father heard God’s Word until his last dying hours. On a Sunday night in March, in the year 2010, on his death bed, a few short hours before my father entered eternity, my husband was whispering the Scriptures into his ear. And that is how it ended. God is good … all of the time.