Well, it appears that I continue to lag… Oh well, Fr. Jerry will be back soon and hopefully my energy and focus will return as well. In the meantime, I was flailing about, trying to figure out what to post today, but kept coming up with nothing.
Then I read a post at one of my favorite blogs; in fact it is the one blog I stop at daily, pretty much no matter what is going on. That blog is People for Others, from Loyola Press; the primary author of posts is the Publisher at Loyola, Paul Brian Campbell, SJ.
Miguel Arias, died recently; Miguel was a ministry consultant at Loyola Press until last year, and then had moved over to Liturgical Training Publications. He was only 40 years old and leaves behind a wife and child; it is so sad. Paul went to Miguel’s home in Mexico for the wake, funeral and interment there and he wrote about it for today’s PFO post, entitled, Burying Miguel.
Not too long ago, I read a really wonderful book, Accompany Them With Singing, by Thomas Long; a book about Christian funerals. As someone who does a lot of funeral ministry, and as someone called to that kind of pastoral work, I read the book with great enthusiasm, I really thought it was wonderful. In our culture, we have come to sanitize death and try, often with the best of intentions, to minimize our Christian legacy, which includes the body and the Cross. As a result, I was struck by Paul’s description of the wake, the ritual of carrying the very heavy coffin and burial. There was no mistaking death in the scenes that Paul relates to us and this funeral was as much a celebration of Miguel’s death as anything. We always, and understandably so, want to say that we are celebrating someone’s life. That is all fine and good, but it is really death we are celebrating and it is hard to remember that… We are filled with the pain of loss and often our own conflicted feelings about our mortality.
Jesus died on the Cross. It was not pretty. In those 3 days, his life was not celebrated, but his death. We recreate this every Triduum. Then – and only then – can we celebrate the great joy of resurrection.
That is what is on my mind this morning, how we might celebrate death, deeply rooted in our faith and hope, just as much as we celebrate life. They are intertwined, no resurrection is possible without death. And that is the celebration, the resurrection that comes.
To that end, I am posting a song, one that I love. We heard it at mass at St. Edward’s this weekend, as the communion hymn. I was a Eucharistic Minister, but I had to fight to not sing these words at the same time. Here is David Haas’, We Will Rise Again.