Many of my most memorable moments as a priest – and as a human being – have been in the context of a death. Anointing the seriously ill, comforting and working together with a bereaved family to prepare a funeral, and of course celebrating the funeral itself – these are extraordinary moments that touch us to the core, and I remember very many of them.
And very often in the midst of all I sense the presence of Another, a man young but infinitely full of experience, love and wisdom. I’ve called on him so many times when faced with difficult situations, and without fail he is there, hidden but profoundly real. The Man who quietly slipped out of his own sepulcher one Sunday morning, is now available to all of us, when we open the door of our sometimes broken hearts, and invite Him in.
Some asked for the words of the Malcolm Guite sonnet I used on the Feast of All Saints, so here they are:
A Last Beatitude And blessed are the ones we overlook; The faithful servers on the coffee rota, The ones who hold no candle, bell or book But keep the books and tally up the quota, The gentle souls who come to ‘do the flowers’, The quiet ones who organise the fete, Church sitters who give up their weekday hours, Doorkeepers who may open heaven’s gate. God knows the depths that often go unspoken Amongst the shy, the quiet, and the kind, Or the slow healing of a heart long broken Placing each flower so for a year’s mind. Invisible on earth, without a voice, In heaven their angels glory and rejoice. Malcolm Guite, from “Sounding the Seasons”, Canterbury Press