Oration at the Funeral Rites for
St Luke’s Catholic Church, Wantirna, June 21, 2000
What is our intent this morning? Shall we look to the past or look to the future? Shall we just remember the good things about Irene’s life or shall we also anticipate the good things that are yet to come to her? That is the question.
Many good things came Irene’s way: long life, family, friends. No doubt there were also unresolved issues as in every life, the usual mixture of disappointments and achievements, gain and loss. Indeed, the occasion of Irene’s death, of anyone’s death, is a signal for us to put things right in life, to seek peace and reconciliation. It is a reminder to all to select out the important things: friendship, family, honesty, prayer; and to leave aside all the chaff.
For some people a funeral is only a form of nostalgia, with thanks surely, with regret perhaps. But our ceremony here looks more to Irene’s future.The Christian knows that death is not the end of things but only the stage in a process. The Christian knows that love is at both the origin and end of this mighty universe. The Christian knows that love recognises love and that God who is love will recognise the quality and quantity of love present in Irene and take it to himself, for love cannot reject love.
We know something of the love that occupied Irene’s life, its strength and its weakness. Yet only perfect love sees love perfectly so that only God who is love can truly assess Irene. From the seed of love she has sown in life, whether large or small, he will recreate her so that she becomes entirely love, being freed from any burden that may have weighed her down.
And when our time has come and our life too is finished, may the same God find in us a spark of love and recreate us so that having become a burning flame of love like Irene we will recognise her and be recognised by her and be at peace with her and her with us. For our destiny is ‘beyond what mortal eye has seen or human ear has heard’.
Let us look back on Irene’s life with thanks and look forward to her future with hope.