Things I have no choice but to write

Category: faith

Eulogy for My Father

My Eulogy for my father, at his Funeral, Given 10/28/2019. (See his obituary here)

Brevity is
the soul of wit[i],
and I’ll endeavor to be both.
Thank you
all for coming today to share in this celebration of the Mass, and my Dad’s life.
I can think of no better way to honor him than through a Mass. He was a loyal
son of the Church. At he bedside, where he spent his last night at home, I
found his Missal. On the cover, was the Christogram, HIS, which comes from the
Latin, In Hoc Signo, or Under This Sign, a reference to Jesus[ii].
He clearly lived under this sign.
Today we
mourn the passing of our Loving Husband, Father, Brother, Uncle, mentor, friend
and golfing buddy; colleague; Boss.
To me he was
simply my dad. A great business and community leader, to be sure, but I
remember was him as a father who taught by example.
  •  His
    example of hard work, and his relentlessness
  •  His
    example of charity, especially to the Church, a certain University[iii],
    and to Habitat for Humanity Collier County
  •  His
    example of faith, like going to 630 mass every day during lent before going to
    work. Even when running a Multi-Billion $ business.[iv]
He taught
the family, all of us, by his example. His example will wake up the echoes[v]
for years to come.
These past
two weeks have brought many happy memories of flooding back. 
  • In the seventies, mowing the lawn at
    927 Cliffwood Lane, which was at a 45-degree angle, in Bermuda shorts, dark
    socks, and a Tshirt.
  • Standing at the top of the stairs,
    Dad shouting “Where’s my gold pen!”. (When cleaning out his things over the
    past 2 weeks, I found them. Dad, they were under your desk.[vi]
  • Driving a car Connecticut to Florida
    and listening the same Prairie Home Companion 5 times.
While today is a day of undeniable sadness, it should also be
a day of joy too. First and foremost, that Dad is no longer suffering. And
second that he has received his eternal reward and is in heaven. Of this I have
no doubt. But there is one final reason, and it’s not because Mom finally gets
to control the remote.
The Irish have a notion of “Thin Places”[vii]
where Heaven and Earth meet. Just a few weeks ago, when he was in the hospital,
has just woken up. I asked how we was. He said “Good. I just saw Mom and Dad,
and I haven’t seen Dad in 16 years. They looked good.”[viii]
I am confident this was true and that he had found one of these thin places. I
am just as confident he is with Honey, Bear, Mary, Jim, Clem, Detmer, Hazel and
the rest of the family. Let us be joyful for this too. He is with his family,
and that his physical and spiritual suffering are over.
In conclusion, the best way I can end my remarks is to give
him the last word. Those words are from his last word to us, in a letter he wrote;
the words he wanted to sum up his life with.
To: Pat,
Bill and David:
I have
neglected putting this together for all too long now. I guess that I haven’t
been willing to face up to the fact that my old ticker has more miles on it
than is normal for my model year.
I have been blessed in so many ways
during my lifetime that I am in awe of the generosity that God has bestowed on
me, a sinner. My greatest gifts are my family whose love, understanding and
tolerance sustained me through the years – I cannot begin to fathom why God
showered the blessings of you three on me, preceded by my own family and now
followed up with my two angels, Emma and Anna. What can heaven begin to be like
after all the blessings I had on earth? I love you so much and eagerly await
the day when we can all be together again in the divine and loving presence of
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Shakespeare reference for Dad, who enjoyed the quotes in my thesis
IHS is also a reference to the transliterated name of Jesus from the Greek.
Ever defiant, this was needling both David and Dad a bit.
And he dragged me to Mass more than few times.
And yet one must pay respect to his love for said University
This is true.
I got this, most likely, from Fr. Brendan McGuire. But Wikipedia confirms it.
I included this to create a bridge to his mother, to whom the same thing

Easter: The Value of Faith (for me).

Many of you know that I have had some bad luck lately. Some of it self-inflicted, some not. What this has caused me to do is strip out all the superfluous things in my life and focus on the important things.

One thing that has been a great comfort to me, in addition to my family, has been my Catholic faith.

Am I religious? I don’t know. That’s for others to determine. What I will say is that I could not have made it through these times without the lessons my Catholic faith taught me.

What are those things? There are really two things:

  1. Life is hard. And Life is unfair.
  2. Even though you are greatly flawed, you still have a path to salvation. There is always hope.

Consider the following people:

  1. Saint Peter, the first pope: He denies Jesus 3 times (!) and still gets to be the first pope.
  2. Saint Paul, the great evangelist: Actively persecutes Christians, until the Road to Damascus.
  3. Saint Augustine, the great teacher: “Grant me chastity  and continence…but not just yet”
  4. Zaccheus, the Tax Collector(Luke 19): Jesus chooses the despised to preach his message.

These men are all deeply flawed, and yet are welcomed by Jesus in one way or another. It is this message that, when facing the toughest times in my life, give me hope. It is the notion that, in all my imperfections, there is still hope for me.

During Good Friday, we say a litany that prayers for other Christians, our brothers the Jews, those of faith who do not believe in Jesus, and who have no faith. The latter gives me the most pause. Without my culture, my faith, I am not sure I could have made it through January and February of this year. And since bad things do happen, how do people with no faith make it through hard times? I really can’t fathom this, unless they get help from other people. This is where James 2:26 comes in: Life is hard, and we have to help the people who need it. I must live a life of faith PLUS action.

This Easter, I am grateful for my family and friends, all of whom have helped me through a difficult time. I owe you more than you can know, and I’ll be happily working off that debt the rest of my life. Thank you.

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