Of death


I happened to visit at the wake of a father of a family friend. Of course, you see the usual Filipino fare you see in wakes: softdrinks, bread, coffee, juice, and other snacks just to keep those in vigil awake.

When I saw some people signing the condolence book, I could not help but remember another joke I heard of when I attended the wake of Lygia Ibañez, founder of Saint Benedict Childhood Education Center where I studied for the first six years of my student life (playgroup to Grade 3).

As with most jokes I know of, there are those which are best said in the lingua franca:

Sa usa ka haya, samtang akong gisulat akong ngalan sa condolence book (kanang libro nga ihatag sa punerarya aron kasulatan sa mga mibisita), giingnan bitaw ko sa usa ka tagtungod: “Hala, bantay-bantay, kay ipa-raffle baya nang mga ngalan diha… ang mabunotan masunod”

To some extent, this joke has done some impact in me. I don’t write my name in condolence books anymore, starting from the wake I just attended hours ago.

***

While I led the prayers for the deceased father of our choir mate and family friend Weny Cabaluna, Celestino, I was inclined to say the Litany of the Saints for the deceased. Having the Collectio Rituum  was a consolation, but also a disappointment. I thought to myself that we could pray this prayer altogether with the rest of my choir mates. To my dismay, I found out that there were just few than three saints included in the prayer. Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Michael were the only ones in the book. I had so many saints in mind, but I just could not muster the thought of stuttering and stammering while reciting by heart the names of the saints whom I know of. This resulted in me not being able to recite the Litany of the Saints altogether. Sayang.

Anyhow, we prayed the Requiem æternam for the deceased. My apologies then for being so fearful of stammering than praying sincerely.

***

We would have been the ones to sing for the Mass for the Dead tonight, but the priest scheduled to say Mass was not available. I just learned tonight that the priest was scheduled to leave for Rome the following day.

Upon hearing the news that we would be the ones to sing, I realized one thing: This week is the Octave of Easter and we are supposed to sing the Gloria this day. I had doubts though. Do you glorify God when someone close dies?

I immediately thought of sending a priest-friend a text message regarding this matter. Father Mel Racelis just clarified this once and for all: The Gloria is sung although it may be read (emphasis mine).

Seeing this, I thought that we should glorify God for the gift of eternal life.

Remember that Easter is a celebration of life. The Paschal Troparion of the Eastern Catholic Church clearly elucidates this fact: that Jesus destroyed death by His own death. By our death we rise to new life.

Saint Francis says it beautifully: “it is in dying that we are born to eternal life”.

While we sing the Gloria as a liturgical rule, let’s go beyond the liturgy: Let us make sad events like death opportunities for us to sing our Gloria, our praise of the Eternal God.

email: alanluigiflores@gmail.com

***

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About Luigi Flores
Brother Luigi Flores: Writer/Editor. Mass Communication Instructor. Voice-over Artist. Upcoming Radio Host. Youth Minister. Lector/Psalmist.

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