Monday, 5 September 2011

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.

A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.


  Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.

Thursday night saw Fr Alan return for the last time to the little church of St Charles Borromeo in Ogle Street.
For the last time he boldly announced the Gospel and gave us a message of hope. 
As he lay in his coffin over the sunken baptismal font he "broke the bread of The Word", and delivered his final, most eloquent Kerygma.  
Those waters of death into which he had plunged countless new Christians, and brought them out into new life, were the same waters over which his body now reposed in death.
He had died, as he had wished, affirming the faith of our Holy Mother the Church.
When the Creed was prayed in the packed church on Thursday night, the confidence with which the words were announced made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and brought tears to my eyes. This is our faith, the faith of the Church.
Thanks be to God.

"He is not here, for he is risen as he said he would"
The book of the Gospels, resting on his coffin, was open to the Easter Sunday reading from Matthew. 
After the liturgy, many stayed behind to "keep him company" in prayer.
Pale faced and sombre, they came forward to kneel before his coffin,  to kiss it and pray. 

Love is stronger than death. 

It was very peaceful and consoling to sit quietly in the church with the others.
I thought about Fr Alan and all the lives that he had touched, the souls he had brought close to Christ .
I thought about how he had poured his life out for the people of God. How tirelessly he had worked.

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.   
 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

    Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

And now his pilgrimage on earth is over. He is home at last, in his Father's House.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
     As they pass through the Valley of weeping, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
    They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

With a full heart, I looked at the place over the font where his coffin rested and remembered Marie-Aibhlinn's baptism last year.
I little imagined that he would not see another Christmas at Ogle Street.

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
     For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.  
 O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you

"Ephphata" Be opened.
"The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May He soon touch your ears to receive His Word, and your mouth to proclaim His faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father."

Here are the two video's ( one oddly sideways) of Marie-Aibhlinns baptism last year. 
It is especially poignant to watch them now.

I am thanking God for Fr Alan's ministry, and for the privilege of having known him.
And I'm praying for the grace of perserverance, so that, like him, I will run to the end, the race marked out for me. 



 Fr Alan's funeral was on Friday, at Westminster Cathedral, it was a beautiful service and the cathedral was filled to standing room only.
He was buried at St Mary's cemetery in Kensal Green.

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