Queen Elizabeth II lived a life admirable in so many ways that the encomia pouring out on her death yesterday, on the feast of Mary’s Nativity, are inexhaustible. What strikes me especially, though, is this: one person’s radical fidelity to her task and station lent stability to the lives of countless others. Fidelity can take many forms. Who knows what awaits us? Important is the heart’s stability, translated into embodied living. I recently came upon this noble prayer formulated by John Paul II on his 65th birthday: ‘If one day illness touches my mind and clouds it, I do surrender to You even now, with [a] devotion that will later be continued in silent adoration. If one day I were to lie down and remain unconscious for long, it is my desire that every hour I am given to experience this be an uninterrupted thanksgiving, and that my ultimate breath be also a breath of love. Then, at such a moment, my soul, guided by the hand of Mary, will face you in order to sing your glory forever. Amen.’