I recently attended a funeral of a person with whom I used to work. Something happened there that got me thinking. I can't tell you how many Catholic funerals I've been to where I was assured that the deceased was with God in Heaven. And I wonder . . . . why do we say this?
Here's the thing. Those in need prayers. Lots of them. So we need people to pray, not be assured that their loved one is in Heaven.
Why do we take the players off the field just when they're needed? Here's what I want you guys to say at my funeral:
Soutenus was fairly despicable at times. She was meaner than she was kind, proud of her humility, and not all that nice to her family or friends. Vain. Sarcastic. Selfish. While these may be qualities of a good blogger, they do not bode well for sainthood.
We have no reason to suspect that Soutenus is in Heaven. In fact, I'd just about guarantee she's not. If God, in his infinite mercy, somehow allowed Soutenus to enter Purgatory it would be a reflection of His mercy rather than any attributes Soutenus evidenced throughout her life.
Let us all assume, to be safe, that Soutenus is in the bottom rung of Purgatory. Soutenus' fingernails are firmly dug into a cliff at the furthest edge of the Purgatory city limits and she's hanging on there, her little feet dangling over Hell.
And the only way you can get her out of there and nearer to Heaven is through your prayers. Pray now. Pray on the ride home. Pray when you get home. Pray. Pray. Pray for days, weeks, and years to come. Please pray.
Soutenus' salvation depends on you so even though Soutenus has surely disappointed God and everyone she ever knew. Please don't disappoint her. She needs your prayers.
On the way out of Church, please sign up for the phone bank so you too can volunteer to call anyone who ever knew Soutenus to remind them to pray for her. Or, you can sign up to go door to door asking people in your neighborhood to pray for Soutenus on a daily basis at around 6 p.m. (around dinnertime because that was Soutenus' favorite time of the day.) Please have some Masses said. Lots of them.
So vehement was Soutenus on this point she has instructed us to lock you all in the Church for 24 hours. After 24 hours of diligent prayer you will be allowed to leave after signing your promissory note to pray often for Soutenus' soul. That promissory note will be considered a legal contract and be notarized. If you fail to live up to your contract you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
In short, please pray as if Soutenus' soul depended on it. Because it does.
A fellow blogger (Lisa @ AWTY) told me that she wanted something close to this engraved on her tombstone: Why are you standing there doing nothing? Please PRAY FOR ME!
She worded it more eloquently -- but you get the idea! I think I will follow suit . . . . in fact . . . . let's all pray for our dearly departed ones more and NOW.
ps) On a less important note -- yet, I want to state it. I would also like to have my feet pointed in that casket. First position - fully stretched feet as in a sauté.