Funerals have a way of focusing the mind on what is really important -- dying in God's grace so we can be happy with him in heaven. I was grateful the priest did not canonize the deceased but talked about how we all seek happiness, often in the wrong places, and need God's mercy. Only Mary, and perhaps a few saints who died young (Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Liseux, St. Dominic Savio, and Blessed Francisco and Jacinta come to mind) did not deserve the fires of hell. And we are all subject to original sin, except the Blessed Mother. Thank God for the grace of Baptism that reconciled us to God.
If I were not so aware of the mercy of God, I would spend my days trembling in fear and hiding under the bed. But God is good and he is there when the priest anoints the dying with the oil of salvation, hears his confession, and gives him Viaticum. I pray for that provided death and trust, through the intercession of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, I will not go without the sacraments.
It's good to reflect on death regularly because it is one of the few absolute certainties in this life. Every year when I go on retreat the priest reminds us of a gravestone he once saw that read: "As you are, I once was. As I am you will surely be." Apparently, this was once a common quote on tombstones used by the Puritans. We would all do well to remember it and think of the only thing that matters -- where we will spend eternity.
Please pray for Larry Schadegg. His body lies now where we all are headed. But his soul... ah...that is another story. My nieces and nephews can be at peace knowing their dad died in the hope of Christ surrounded by Christ's Church and having received the sacraments that offer the best hope of eternal salvation. Requiescat in pace, Larry. "May the divine assistance remain always with us, and may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."