I am always struck when the Abbot talks about how lucky one of the monks who has gone to God is to have done just that-gone to God. Father Robert always says this in his homily at the funeral of a monk. For Brother Edward he told me when I saw him in the hall on the day of the funeral and asked how he is doing (remember, he has cancer) “I am happy for Brother Edward.” And in his beautiful homily he mixed funny stories about Brother Edward (he did not suffer fools gladly) with a belief that Br. Edward was exactly where he wanted to be now.
This always strikes me as powerful. As a person who lives in the world, believes in the same God and Christ as he does, I still am more reticent about being happy for death. I guess that’s because unlike our monastic brothers I don’t quite have the commitment and faith in the future that they do. They, after all, are here for that afterlife. Our monastic brothers came to the monastery to see God, to ‘see his face,’ to be with Him in all that they do and are. I, unfortunately, say that, say I want to be with Jesus, but truthfully fear death, fear the future, wonder what it will really be like.
Oh that we could all have the faith of the monastic community. Oh that we all could give it up completely to the faith in the Risen Christ. Oh that I could be like Father Robert and Brother Edward.
I have been away from the monastery for almost a month. I did this on purpose because I just needed a rest. But my visit Saturday for the funeral of Brother Edward reminded me how much I love this place, how much I missed the brothers, how much I needed to be in a place where all that matters is God, and all that matters is a full commitment to his love.
RIP Br. Edward. Thank you for reminding me what a real commitment to Christ is all about.