Sunday, 2 November 2008

November Musings...

The more I reflect on the Church's liturgy, and the liturgical cycle in particular, the greater my awe at how amazingly it all fits together...

Of course, I shouldn't be surprised... Liturgy is, after all, not what we do for God, and not even what we do to worship God, but it is what we have been given, through the Church, by God, for our benefit, to enable us to worship God.

November, the month which sees the end of the Church's year, is marked out as the month of the Holy Souls, and the readings at Mass reflect the ending of the year by reminding us of the four last things: death, judgement, hell and heaven.

Fr. Ray has obviously been casting his mind over the first of those last things.  In an excellent post, he has declared his desire to have black vestments worn at his funeral, a black pall draped over the coffin and unbleached candles... mind you, he hasn't actually stated that he wants Mass in the Extraordinary Form...

My SD has told me that I need to make a will to ensure my wishes with regard to my own funeral are actually carried out.  I always thought that wills were read out after the funeral (that's what happens in all the murder-mysteries I've read!) which makes that a bit of a tricky one: oooh, Aunty Mac actually wanted a Trad funeral... whoops... better go and retrieve the ashes then!

But yes, I know he's right, so I will do it soon... the tricky bit will be working out to whom I should leave my overdraft!

In the meantime, I shall re-state my own preferences, in the hopes that, should I shuffle off this mortal coil before I get round to seeing a solicitor, there's a record of my wishes...  I'm also upping the ante, somewhat, as I've decided that one should always ask for the best where liturgy is concerned...

1) All celebrations to be in the Extraordinary Form.  All vestments to be black.  All candles to be unbleached...

2) Coffin to be brought to the church the day before, and draped in a black pall.

3) Solemn High Mass if at all possible (I once heard it described as Mass with three gentlemen and much smoke: sounds about right!) - and, on reflection, most of the priests I know are younger than me, and I've been careful to cultivate plenty of seminarians (remember all those drinks bought at Faith Conferences, chaps?  Well, it's payback time... so, brush up on your Latin!) so they should be able to rustle up three between them!  Like I said, I'm upping the ante...

4) Sermon exhorting people to pray for my soul to be sprung from Purgatory.  As I've already signed away all rights to any plenary indulgences obtained, I expect to be there for quite a while, but sooner or later, if there are enough prayers, I figure that my number's going to come up... eventually...

5) The Dies Irae.

6) Absolutions at the catafalque.

7) Cremation.  Having visited our local crematorium, I'm quite keen to be reduced to air pollution... especially as I've been forced to teach GCSE modules on "Air Quality" !  It also means I won't have a grave to be neglected by non-church-going relatives...

8) A wake.  After all, with all that time spent in church, the mourners will be in need of nourishment... and I believe that there's plenty of Vitamin B in real beer...

Ok, that's sorted then... unless there's anything anyone else can suggest...

4 comments:

Ottaviani said...

I am pretty sure that cremation is forbidden (or was forbidden at least in the bad old days) for Catholics - because it denies the bodily resurrection...

Maybe Fr. Tim would know?

Mac McLernon said...

Cremation is allowed now... I am certain of this because I have been responsible for filling in the Parish Death Register, and there is the option to record burial or cremation in the book... and Fr. Tim has officiated at both!

And it doesn't deny the bodily resurrection... some people used it to deny the bodily resurrection, but if a completely rotted and decomposed corpse can be considered for sainthood (presumably being resurrected at the end of time), then a cremated body can be resurrected, no problem!

Fr. Andrew said...

May I suggest woodland burial as a non-polluting alternative? The Church still prefers burial, although cremation is permitted.

Mac McLernon said...

Fr. Andrew, I appreciate your concern for the environment, but I actually quite like the idea of being reduced to pollution (physically, you understand, and with every expectation of being put back together again!) as I have been forced by the government to teach all about air pollution (yawn!) which is what passes for GCSE chemistry these days!

I'm also not too keen on the idea of being dug up by wildlife...
;-)

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