Thursday, May 7, 2015


I have written many times about the experience of death in this space.  There has been quite a procession of saints that has passed before our eyes.  Some young people and some older people.  Some who died quickly and some who took a while to get it done.  There were some who died from violent causes and some who slipped into the night quietly.  There are some with who I exchanged pleasantries as we bade one another goodbye.  Each time it has been a learning experience in love.

I can't tell you how many times I have been the witness to death because they are too numerous for my aged memory to capture in a moment like this .  There have been those with whom I had good times and there have been those with whom I did not. That did not take the love out of the death experience.  Death is that moment when the gift of life becomes the gift of love because it is the gift of no return that has no boundaries.  It is the gift that defines the life of the deceased and in that definition we all participate in a moment of defining ourselves.  This is true even if we were not very close to the individual, in whatever way you want to define "close."
It is inevitable, that in the moment of death there is a lot going on right there on the threshold of eternity.  It's one of the most profound experiences of human learning with which we are blessed.

All that being said, today we said goodbye to Catalina Sotelo.  This simple, humble, hard working, loving, caring, dedicated person who was warm to everyone with whom she dealt.  She defied my 50/50 rule, I dare say.  My 50/50 rule states "At your funeral 50% of those present will be there mourning and 50% will be there to make sure that it's true."  I know, deep down in my heart that the nearly 500 people in church this morning were closer to 90/10, with only about 10% attending just to check it out.  No, Catalina filled the church because of her great love for people.

When someone fills the church even though they died at only 46 years old, you know that they did something right.  You know that God is showing us that this person had done what had to be done for Him.  It's a witness to a life well led and a faith-life shared with those in communion with you.  

As we pray for the eternal repose of her soul, let us also remember to thank God for the life that He gave her to share with us.  We enjoyed her help while she was warm and vibrant by our side.  Let us enjoy her vibrant spirit across the dimension of the spiritual existence and the physical existence.  

Into you hands, we commend our spirit Oh Lord!

Finally, don't forget that my 50/50 rule, part B is, "No Crying at MY Funeral."

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