“Death is one of two things. Either it is annihilation, and the dead have no consciousness of anything; or, as we are told, it is really a change: a migration of the soul from one place to another.” ~ Socrates
Yesterday morning, after celebrating the 6:30 a.m. Mass, I went into my office for awhile before the 8:00 a.m. Mass. At 7:30 a.m., my phone rang and the caller-id indicated that it was Fr. Roy Beeching. Now, Fr. Beeching had been hospitalized last week and was not doing very well. I thought it odd that he would be calling that early and I answered the phone cautiously. Sure enough, it was someone else using his phone because it had my name programmed into it and they knew that I, as administrator of the diocese, would need to be notified that Fr. Beeching had died about an hour beforehand.
My mind immediately went through a recall of all the times that I had the occasion to be with Fr. Beeching. When I was the pastor at Holy Trinity in Gary, Fr. Beeching was the pastor of St. Mark. I would go to his rectory a couple times a month and have dinner with him and Fr. Andy Daniels, the rector of the cathedral. I generally got an upset stomach at those meals not because they were bad but because we all laughed so much.
I thought about the assignments that Fr. Beeching had throughout his active priesthood and about his need to retire a while back due to medical conditions getting the best of him. He accepted everything that was happening with a grace that amazed me and, I have to admit, one that I do not know if I could muster for myself. On top of everything else, he had to go to dialysis three times a week.
We are believers. We know that there is something better awaiting each and every one of us. That is why these times of letting go, while painful, are a time of celebration. We celebrate the victory won for each and every one of us by Jesus Christ. We cling to the hope of resurrection and we console ourselves with the knowledge that we will see our loved ones again.
For a life well-lived, Roy, thank you. Now, go on to your deserved place of rest. And, as you “migrate” from this place to heaven, say hello to Socrates. Because, he had it right. Death is not annihilation. It is merely moving on, going home, returning to the Lord.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for the repose of the souls of all your loved ones who have gone before you and for all those who have no one left to remember them in prayer.