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12 August 2013

Friar Funerals

I generally do a good job of keeping my wits about me during funerals.  In the past when I attended, I usually served as an acolyte.  Now, as a deacon, my liturgical role has expanded in some ways and decreased (quite frankly) in others.

I know, however, that I'm usually going to be in a position where the majority of those assembled will be able to see me.  Consequently, I do my best to save my tears/emotions to a time when I can be assured they won't be distracting for those who are grieving.  Cue the most oft-spoken words at CPE: "It's not about you."

This morning, the friars laid to rest Brother Christopher Varley - a delightful man in his mid-70s who spent his years as a friar in the kitchen and tailor shop, as well as on the streets of inner-city Manhattan.

Keeping with the aforementioned rule, I kept things together for the majority of our liturgy.  The item that caught me - stopped me dead in my tracks - did not occur until after the graveside service.  What got me was the looks of recognition appearing in the eyes of senior friars gathering around the grave as they walked away.

Their looks were a combination of grateful remembrance and unabashed foreboding: they recalled their brother Christopher and at the same time seemed to acknowledge that they may by the next to join him for their eternal reward.

I can only hope to be privileged to have the same look in my eyes some days; or, perhaps, please God, to prompt it in the eyes of others.

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