The first funeral I ever attended was my father's. I was seven years old and the full magnitude of what I was witnessing didn't really sink in until thirty years later.
Not so today: I was immediately and profoundly struck--right in the depth of my being--upon viewing the lifeless body of a baby in the vestibule of my Church. Only two months old, our parish celebrated her funeral Mass today and it is fair to say that there wasn't a soul in the place who was not moved with sorrow and pity. One of her surviving brothers is only a couple years younger than I was when I attended my father's funeral, and I glanced at him now and again, wondering what he thought of it all. He was one of the few people in the room who was not weeping: ignorance, it seems, really is bliss, at least sometimes.
The church, which ordinarily draws five or six people for a daily Mass, was as full as it is on Sunday morning. After Mass I trekked out to the graveside, where many of us stood around in 95-degree heat for the commendation. In spite of the tremendous sadness and the sense of loss, of somehow being lost, there is some comfort in the action of a community that comes together in this way for this purpose: to bury the dead and comfort the mourning, a Corporal Work of Mercy and a Spiritual.
Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei