John and Lucille were devout Catholics. For their entire lives together they wrapped themselves and their children in the parish, the beliefs of the church, and the rituals and traditions of the faith. Because their religion was essential to John and Lucille and to most (if not all) their grown children, the funeral service reflected this value system. I appreciated the opportunity to sit in the back of the church and observe and reflect on what unfolded in front of me. I was raised in the Catholic faith but chose to set it aside when I was in college. So, although the service did not reflect my current way of thinking, I was familiar with all parts of the ritual and I knew the beliefs behind the words and gestures.
Although I know the beliefs behind the words and gestures, I just can't buy them. I was impressed with the homily (aka sermon) delivered by another uncle who has been a Catholic priest for almost 50 years. In his remarks, Fr Ralph talked about death being on a par with birth. That is, when a child is born, he/she leaves the safe, familiar, comfortable world of the womb and is pushed out into a world of a million sensations - all new and most intense. And the new born baby has no other choice but to ride it out and see where it all goes. For the most part, most people would say the ride in the new world was worth it. And so it goes: when we die, we are being thrust into a new world and wonders await us there. Sounds fine to me. I am open to what might come next. I might even say I am curious.
Don't get me wrong. I am happy that people who want a faith community can have a faith community. I'm just not comfortable with the notion that spiritual life is a one size fits all thing. I am not disrespectful of any faith tradition. But please don't tell me I have to buy it.