Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Funerals aren't all bad

God was so present on Tuesday at my Aunt's funeral it made us all joyful.

The first incidence was when I opened my Daily Office for that day and the first reading for the Office of Readings was

But the souls of the just 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 before men, indeed, they be 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.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.

In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with the elect.
Wisdom 3:1-9

Then it turned out that this was also one of the readings that they had chosen for Aunt Mary's mass. It was so affirming especially because my closest cousin left the church nearly 20 years ago and has been a Baptist lo these many years. She just recently picked up a Catholic Women's Devotional Bible and has been using it for her morning scripture study and has been GREATLY moved by the affirmation and help she has found in its pages. For us to discover together that the Church in her infinite wisdom had chosen that specific reading for the exact day of her mom's funeral was such an eye opening God-incidence for her.

The Cantor for the Mass sang Panis Angelicus in English. This is possibly one of my favorite hymns but I had never actually heard the English lyrics before and was amazed at how beautiful they are. (Score one big one for the vernacular)

It rained pretty much the entire day, (Aunt Mary always said "It's good for the ducks" on rainy days) but just as the service at the graveside was ending and we were walking back to the cars a ray of sunshine broke through the clouds.

I was able to give some good counsel to my cousins who are dealing also with their father's increased dementia and have placed him in a nursing home. He didn't even make it to the funeral because he is so far gone. I kept reassuring them that they should not tell him that Mary is dead. For him she can always remain alive. When he asks when he will see her they can say, "She had to go to the Dr. today but she will come tomorrow." She will always be on her way to see him, with his memory loss that will be enough to reassure him.

I spent a lot of time getting acquainted or reacquainted with my cousins and their husbands, wives and children. One of the kids, a very astute 14 year old boy said "I hate that the only time I get to see all of my cousins is at funerals." A greater truth could not be spoken about families.

My sister and brother and I all came away feeling very blessed that we have such a great extended family and we need to keep in touch with everyone.

I got home to my family about 8:30 and my kids were actually happy to see me.

Will wonders never cease.

Thanks to everyone who sent prayers and condolences.


1 comment:

Mimi said...

I'm so glad it was a good experience! May her Memory be Eternal.