Posted by: geolocke | 2016/12/12

Their Hope Is Full Of Immortality

The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.

But they are in peace.

For if to others, indeed, they seem punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.   (Wisdom 3:1-5)

This month has been a busy one so far and we’re not even half through with it. Here in the darkest month of the year, I’ve been attending to the souls of the departed and their families, two this past week and one this coming week.

The first funeral I was called in at the last moment to be the Cantor for the funeral Mass.  Although I did not know the man personally, I learned that he was active and had passed away suddenly. I prepared myself to sing by praying for the well-being of his spirit, and for his family, and I prayed that the Lord would use me as his instrument to sing words of comfort to those who are left behind to mourn.

That evening we learned that my wife’s Aunt had passed away that same morning. Just two weeks shy of her 104th birthday, she was active right up until the last week of her life. A remarkable woman who was widowed when her children were still young.  With no financial resources, she raised her family in public housing, taught her children right from wrong and made them sit in the front pew every Sunday morning for Mass.

Those children, my wife’s cousins are now adults with children and grandchildren of their own. Each has faced many challenges in their own lives, and yet they fondly remember their humbly upbringing and the strength, hope, and joy with which their mother always faced every challenge placed before her. My wife and I were asked to be the Lectors for her Funeral Mass, so we both prepared ourselves to proclaim the readings with clear, unhesitating voices. After the funeral Mass, we proceeded to the cemetery for the burial rite and then stayed with the families for a while before returning to our home.

The next morning I learned that my uncle, my mother’s brother had died the previous evening. My mother is not able to make the journey so I am preparing to fly out to represent her and our family at his funeral Mass. My cousins tell me that even though he was ill and in hospital, my uncle was still alert with a sharp wit and making plans to play harmonica with the little band he had joined at the assisted living facility. That’s just the kind of person he was.

My father has a favorite saying: “They say that the good Lord don’t put more on you than you can handle, but sometimes I just wish the Lord didn’t have such a high opinion of me.”  This is always said with tongue in cheek and a chuckle at himself just before moving on to handle the next obstacle in his path.

And so it is that even with the weight upon my spirit from all of these deaths around me, I know that I can rely upon the Lord to carry me through.  This was made clear to me yesterday morning after Mass when we received another phone call, this time from our son.  His father-in-law had just died from Cancer.

As I felt yet another weight fall upon my spirit and I began to think gloomy thoughts, my attention was captured by the laugh and giggle of a small child that was nearby. I remembered in that instant that all these people who had recently died had lived their life with the hope and joy of the promise of the life that is yet to come to us.

In this darkest time of the year for the northern hemisphere, with cold winds that blow and send a chill to my very bones, there is still the promise of new life that is just waiting to be born, waiting to spring up from the frozen ground beneath my feet.

And as I look about and see the children who are joyfully anticipating the coming of Christmas, I stop and remember that these newly departed souls, like so many others around the world, are all eagerly awaiting for the new birth that is to come, just as surely as we are awaiting the birth of the Christ Child within each of us, and that is a very cheery thought with which to chase away the darkness.

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Responses

  1. Dearest George, Thank you for these beautiful words from your beautiful heart. Today we celebrate my mom’s silver anniversary of her call to be with Jesus and Mary! We rejoice because she and dad taught us so well❤️️ Be safe in your journey, God speed🙏 Marguerita

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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