I received the news today: Kent Hodges, who had written several articles
for Caelum et Terra, has died. He was 51.
the details came. He was twelve miles into a marathon race near Gallup,
New Mexico, where he lived, when he suddenly collapsed, apparently
stricken by a massive heart attack. Attempts at CPR were unsuccessful.
His mother and his son Elijah, who must be around 11 or 12, were waiting for him at the finish line.
met Kent only once, in 1994, after we had long exchanged letters and
phone calls, when I spent a week with him in Gallup, after leaving a
monastery I had been visiting in southern Colorado.
gets a sense of a person from his writings, but often meeting him is a
rude awakening. Think of the pale weakling who is transformed into
blustering polemicist when he sits at the typewriter.
writing was nothing if not witty and full of life. I am happy to report
that meeting him was no disappointment: Kent in the flesh, like Kent in
print, was funny, charming, and a lover of life.
did not stay in touch much as the years passed, and most of my news of
him came from mutual friends, though we had exchanged a few emails in
the last year or so.
An untimely death always
leaves us shaken. In Kent’s case, though, there is great comfort to be
taken by the testimony of his friends: long devout, for the last
several months he had received the Eucharist and recited the rosary
daily. He was reading St John of the Cross. And best of all, he had
received the sacrament of reconciliation the night before his death.
pray for Kent, as well as for his family and friends, reeling from this
shock. Pray especially for Elijah, losing his father while yet a boy.
Eternal Memory, Oh Lord.