It's been a day. A good day. I went to the funeral of my friend who passed away last week. He was a cradle Catholic and was really good friends with a group of men from the Mennonite Church close by. My friend's funeral, held at the Catholic Church, was a wonderful celebration. The music ministry from the Mennonite church really blessed us with meaningful music. The priest led the service and turned it over to the Pastor of the Mennonite Church after the Gospel reading. This Pastor acknowledged what an honour it was to preach in the Catholic Church and was grace filled, loving and gentle spirited. He is a man my husband grew up with, his father a man my husband had the greatest respect for. He said nothing that was contrary to Catholic belief. I am convinced there is more that unites than divides us and I am grateful this pastor focused on that.
A few weeks ago at a different funeral, a Protestant Pastor got up to say his piece towards the end of a Catholic funeral, time courteously given him by the priest and at the request of a few family members. Time with which he then ran roughshod over the message that had been preached. Correcting people's faulty perspective. There's a certain rudeness about doing something like that that irks the daylights out of me. I don't know about you but words don't speak to me near as much as actions do. What's that saying? Your actions speak so loudly I can't hear what you're saying. Advice I need to take to heart as well. Sigh. Excuse me while I take the log out of my eye.
Today, the priest went out of his way to explain the order of the Mass without apologizing for it, nor making people uncomfortable if they were unfamiliar with what came next. Here's how we do as Catholics and here's the meaning behind this symbol or that one. I've rarely seen such inclusivity without apologizing for the differences. No watered down Catholicism, no dissing one another's faith communities. The mutual respect was beautiful to see.
My friend's life touched many people. He let the Holy Spirit guide him and more than half the people attending raised their hands when asked if they had prayed one on one with my friend. He not only talked the talk, he walked the walk.
At the luncheon afterwards I was able to connect with a friend whose husband is undergoing chemotherapy, his second round tomorrow. It was good to talk and honour her tears as they overflowed. Tears of all that is unsettled within her. In the circles we know each other in there have been several deaths and diagnoses of cancer lately. She knows firsthand that no one is immune to suffering. It's a painful road of transformation for her right now. I don't know how her story will end. She is still raising young children and is also a grandmother. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.