Sunday, January 10, 2010

Some ruminations from a funeral

My sister-in-law's father passed away and the funeral was this past week. The Mass was at a church that my wife and I go to on occasion, but it was celebrated by a visiting priest. My wife and I were nervous, because at funerals with visiting priests and a lot of people in the pews who don't usually attend Mass, you just never know what will happen, as LarryD can certainly attest to. We were quite relieved, though, as the priest actually stuck to the rubrics of the Mass, and didn't turn an occasion for praying for the deceased and comfort for his family into a canonization rite or a New Age meditation on oneness. He reminded us that God's plan is for our eternal union with Him but pointed to the centrality of the Cross in that plan. The priest comforted the family members that at death we do not cease to exist but hopefully enter into the fullness of life eternal with God, and we offered prayers for the mercy of God to be extended upon this man and all of us.

At different parts of the Mass I looked around at the church and pondered the symbolism of what I saw: the crucifix, whose victim purchased the mercy we were imploring; the statues of the saints, whose preaching and lives of witness made possible our own life in Christ; the baptismal font and Easter candle, present and central to every person's entry into the Church, and now present at one's exit from earthly life; the incense, which carries forth our prayers and worship to God in heaven, yet lingering to sanctify the space in which we worship.

These things are what the Church wishes us to ponder in the Liturgy, and the priest, acting according to his responsibilities, allowed me to ponder such things because he wasn't competing for my attention.


Owen said...

That is a good and rare thing.

Also, may your sister-in-law's soul rest in peace.

Mike in CT said...


It's her father, but I thank you for the prayers.

And thank you for stopping by.

Owen said...

I apologize. I read it correctly but wrote in a hurry.