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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dearly Departed (PUT THAT DOWN AND PAY ATTENTION))

Recently, on Facebook, there was a letter making the rounds written by a Catholic woman.  In the letter, she extoled the virtues of praying for the souls of the dead by asking those hearing her letter - presumably for the first time as it is read at her funeral mass - to not just assume she is in heaven.  Rather, she was reminding them of her humanness by stating that she hoped she was on her way there but that she knew herself well enough to know that she was going to need their prayers because nothing unclean enters that realm.

I liked that letter.  I thought is was touching and lovely and real.  It got me to thinking, what do I want people to hear about me at my funeral?

More importantly, can I trust anyone I know to properly eulogize me?  Is anyone capable of capturing the true Leslie and describing her to the crowd (assuming there is one - for all I know it'll be me and the Dominicans).

Not that this matters, right?  I mean, once I am dead, I am dead until the resurrection.   If I am upset at the quality of my eulogy then at that time I can follow up with whoever  got up to speak at my Rosary or after my Funeral Mass.  I can then remind them that they left out how much I loved animals, that I never truly understood algebra and that I once spent three days in the Cow Palace Parking Lot in order to be up front for the Rolling Stones concert.  And I was - right smack in front of Mick.

If I am really concerned, maybe I can pull an Irish thing and hang out at my funeral as a ghost...and smack whoever is speaking on the head if they say something I don't like.

"Golly, Leslie was such a great gal...I wish she hadn't bothered us so much with all those Facebook posts about saints though (smack) OW".

Of course, if I am going to be very honest with my readers I have to admit that my biggest fear will be that people in my family who don't like me anymore will rush the ambo after Mass to tell everyone what a jerk I really was all those years.

"She shoved her religion down our throat!  We hated her and never spoke to her because she did not openly support gay marriage and thought abortion was evil...she wouldn't vote for Trump but she refused to vote for Hillary and we will never EVER forgive her for losing her temper with us when we were three".

"that woman told crazy stories when she was drunk - like how she knew rock and roll stars and did cocaine with astronauts - and then she could never remember what she said, which would just embarrass the hell out of all of us".

"She was a lot of fun until she got sober - then all that God stuff started up and she was a pain in the neck right up until she died".

"She kept yelling about the Eucharist and insisting that Once Saved Always Saved is a false theology.  I hated that she would not accept my reasons for leaving The Church were valid".

Now that I think about it, it would be a much more honest eulogy if there was a kind of Point/CounterPoint exchange.  On one side would be those people who regularly tell me how much they love me and how I have positively impacted their lives.  On the other would be people who are breathing a huge sigh of relief that I am finally dead so they don't have to worry about me showing up at their party and telling their preacher that I am a Dominican and we don't go along with heresy, thank you.

At least the ones in the Western Province don't - I can't vouch for those other guys.

The most important thing for me to remember is that I have tried my best to be a better and better me ever since I started my journey in sobriety.  At times I have failed miserably and I am sorry.  Other times I have done a pretty good job and surprised myself.  In fact, the number of times I have walked with grace and dignity through some really tough periods in my life are astounding when one considers the material God has to work with here. 

Maybe, if I were to write anything to be read at my funeral, it would be this:

She did her best.
She often failed.
God loves her anyway.
And she loves Him.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Please keep the soul of my friend, Macile Lejeune, in your prayers.  She has gone on to claim a dance with Jesus.  Macile, please pray for me as I pray for you.



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