Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

REMARKS OF FATHER JOHN O’BRIEN
FOR MICHAEL PASQUALE

This compassionate and uplifting homily was delivered by
a great priest on that same sad morning.

Nancy, I can’t tell you the depth of feeling I have within myself, and I can only imagine the depth of feeling that’s present in you and each one of us who has gathered together on this occasion of Michael’s entrance into heaven. An occasion you never, ever dreamt you would be present at. You thought, for sure, that perhaps you would be on the other side, welcoming him to the shores of heaven.

Just a little over two months ago, we gathered together here, in the morning, and we prayed for your father, age eighty-four, who had gone to heaven, to his eternal reward. And I remember the first reading was from Ecclesiastes and was a reading that reaches into our hearts, and gives us a sense of comfort and consolation, because we do know within our own hearts that there is a cycle of life, and it is that cycle that has to run its course. And when running its course, we can expect death and resurrection into the eternal presence of God, who joined each and every one of us when He gave us the gift of life.

But today things are out of the natural order. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to happen; this isn’t the way we see the gift of life. And so we have to ask ourselves: What in God’s name is happening? I can’t say to you this is the will of God, because it isn’t. It’s out of the natural order.

Just before Christmas I spoke to the people of the parish. I spoke about a woman who had had a stillbirth, and she shared in America magazine, in a very beautiful article, the depth of feelings and pain and anguish she went through at that moment. And with the anger— she was angry at God—there was a sense of loneliness and desertion, and wondering: Has God deserted me altogether? And she said, people meaning well say some of the most unbelievable things at that time, things that didn’t touch what she was feeling at all.

She said the ones she began to appreciate were the people who approached her and were very honest and straightforward. And they

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