митрополит Антоний Су́рожский (Блум)

Kathleen Kanjilal Funeral

2 January 1991

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

There is a passage in the Old Testament that says, I have tasted a little honey, and now I must die... Isn't this an image of the life of Kathleen? Years and years of hardship, years of struggle – in spirit, in mind, in body, in health; and then, at the end of her life the little honey which she has tasted: she found a spiritual home in the Orthodox Church; she found people who came gradually to respect her, admire her and love her ever more, for whom – for all of us – she was a challenge and a vision. A challenge by her outrightness, her integrity, her refusal to bend to the winds; and an inspiration also because she allowed us that one c a n live with truth within oneself without compromise, and yet, struggling day in and day out with all the difficulties of one's inner and outer life.

And then the time came when she stood face to face with death, with the greatest challenge of all; and she stood before death unafraid, undefeated; and yet, death is the ultimate challenge: who can face death with the sense of peace, who can face death not only with courage but with daring, that one can truly say that her life has not been in vain, that the earth has made her a potential citizen of eternity. We stand around her holy remains with lit candles, proclaiming our faith in life eternal, speaking before God of our expectation of the resurrection of the body, but also proclaiming to Him silently but how clearly, more clearly than any word can express it, that she also has been a light in this world, a light that has shone and reached us, a light that has kindled within us respect, a sense of veneration, and above all – love; not only love for her but love for all that she stood for. And our testimony before God shall continue, because each of us, according to what he has, or she has, seen in Kathleen, learned from her must live in such a way that nothing be lost to the world by her temporary departure from our midst. In spirit, she will be with us day in, day out, but no longer in the frailty and imperfection of the earth but in the greatness of eternal life. Doesn't she say to us in the Psalm that was sung in the beginning of the service, ‘My soul lives, and I shall sing unto the Lord'? This is why, in the face of death we can start the service by saying, Blessed is our God! – the God that has broken down the gates of hell, the God that has opened the gates of time, and did made eternity to flow into our earthly life, and who also takes into a fullness of eternity which we cannot know on earth those who had loved it during their earthly sojourn. Indeed, we are right when we respond to her cry by saying, Blessed is the road that thou treadest today, o, human soul, for a place of rest has been prepared unto thee... And death can do at times what life is incapable of doing: bring around the departure people who were alien, estranged to one another, at times opposed and inimical to each other, and who all related in a mysterious way to the person whom they have come to venerate for the last time before her bodily presence is removed from us: a point of eternity, a moment of union whe(n,re) we can share

with her her peace, when there is no bitterness left, no pain, no resentment, no lack of understanding – nothing that is so painful on earth... Let us therefore come and give her a last farewell, a farewell until the day when we will meet again with deep joy, when we also will have been freed by death from all that limits us, when we will meet in the fullness of the life of God, partakers of the Divine nature, at one with Him.

Amen.

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