In everything there is a season. A time to be born and a time to die. And it is true. We know not the day or the hour. We are on the journey and we are called to be ever vigilant for we will be summoned home, sometimes with the grace to prepare as the nun in these photos did. She was an Ursuline nun, aged 85 and the only Catholic in the family. Yet, she was sent off in a grand manner, with the attendance of the Bishop of Chiangmai, ten priests and religious with lay people, Catholics and non Catholics too. I do believe that that funeral mass would draw the grace of God for the conversion of those open enough to receive. I recall how a young boy was so touched by the way a funeral mass was conducted that he gave his life as a priest in later years. Praise the Lord!
My friends had wanted to visit the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on the day prior to our departure. But I suggested that we visit the grave of the late Fr. Iker first. We did. We also saw the graves of many other missionaries. When it was over, we crossed the road to go to the Cathedral. Immediately I recognise the signs pointing to a funeral. It was such a blessing. We not only spoke to the Bishop, a very gentle person, like most Thai people. Then we decided to join the mass. It was my first Thai funeral mass. Although I could not understand the language, I was deeply moved by the hymns that were sung. There was the pianist and the flutist adding to the solemnity of the occasion with their skilful renditions.
What impressed me too was to see the students who played the musical instruments during the procession from the convent nearby. These were students in the Catholic school run by some of the nuns, I believe. I had no chance to find out why the soldiers had the honour of carrying the coffin of Sr. Marie. Besides that, I was impressed by most of the women present at the funeral mass. They seemed to be wearing their Sunday best although the colour was black. Smart looking and so dignified. There was reverence shown through the silence kept. Praise God!
So there is a season for everything. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to laugh and a time to weep. Whatever it is, may we always find time with our loved ones. We know not the day or the hour. Praise God!