I expect a lot of our readers will already know that I (Orin) am a full-time parish music director (Sts. Joachim and Ann in St. Charles County) in addition to Oddwalking and lots of other things. One of my roles at the parish is directing the Resurrection Choir, which sings at funerals and memorial masses as they arise. This is a dedicated group of singers who have some availability, especially mid-week daytime hours, to volunteer this ministry for grieving families – often the choir is 8 to 12 voices, depending on people’s availabilities.
Some of the funerals and memorial masses we are privileged to be at are lead by the parish pastor, Fr. John Brockland, JCL. He leads the masses with a lot of sensitivity and compassion, and while he delivers a homily specific to each family, the deceased, and the scripture selected, he often closes with an exercise to try to help people imagine the joy of an eternity with God.
Is there someone from your life who has passed on, someone for whom you still grieve? Try this exercise too.
Fr. Brockland will ask people to imagine a time when the deceased loved one’s face radiated joy, and to consider what he calls the “stuff” of that moment, often specific to that family, that person: was it a family gathering, a fishing trip, a day at the ballpark, a child’s wedding, etc.? That joy is just a glimpse of the heavenly banquet and eternity with God, where love, peace, and joy never cease.
What is it that brings you joy in your life? Can you see these moments in your life as gifts from God and a glimpse of sharing in that divine life forever? God wishes that for all people, if we only accept the gift of salvation, living God’s words of spirit and life. Can there be a greater joy than that?