I listened to another eulogy today at a funeral Mass. The person was well known and loved so the eulogy was very complimentary. The officiating priest declared at least four times that the deceased person was in heaven and "sharing God's glory." No doubt the priest must have been present to hear the results of the particular judgement and was told the person had avoided purgatory and won heaven. If this is true, then the Masses to be offered for the repose of this poor soul are not needed. I really think this is presumption at its worse.
The Church forbids eulogies at the funeral Mass, and some of the reasons are described by Dr. James Hitchcock in an old issue of The Adoremus Bulletin. My own reason for getting queasy at hearing a eulogy is that I think some people may be like I am, a sinner who doesn't deserve a thing, especially heaven. If I get there, it won't be because I earned it--it will be because of the mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Here are the Church regulations on eulogies given at the Funeral Mass:
General Instruction of the Roman Missal 2000 382. At the funeral Mass there should, as a rule be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind....
Order of Christian Funerals 27. A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel reading at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the vigil service; but there is never to be a eulogy.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1688. The liturgy of the Word during funerals demands very careful preparation.... The homily in particular must avoid the literary genre of funeral eulogy (OCF 41) and illumine the mystery of Christian death in the light of the risen Christ. The Church does allow the deceased to be remembered at a Vigil service:
VIGIL AND RELATED RITES AND PRAYERS 62. ... After this prayer (Prayer of Intercession) and before the blessing or at some suitable time during the vigil, a member of the family or a friend of the deceased may speak in remembrance of the deceased.
How many toys should a kid have? Fox saw my last post and said she had 8-month old twins. She asked how a child's intelligence could be increased between 8 and 18 months. Rather than respond in the comments section, my answer is here.
I don't know what Ph.D.'s say to do to aid your baby's intelligence, but games and new toys seem to me to work. No, not the kind you buy in the toy department--the ones you get out of the kitchen, the closet, your junk drawer, or the wastebasket. Of course, nothing unsafe that babies can swallow or try to eat, or that will cut, burn, pinch, or hurt their eyes.
Last night, I babysat for one of my grandchildren who is between 8 and 18 months old. She played with an apple for a long time because it rolled sideways on the kitchen floor and had a stem to grab onto. She also played and laughed with one of the cats by holding a long weed we picked from her yard. That produced lots of fun and smiles because the cats normally do not come close to her because she pulls their fur. A rolling popcan (full) allowed her to crawl after it on the kitchen floor. We also played with the mailbox handle and red flag--opening and closing it and moving it up and down.
Last month, she played for almost a half hour with a bucket of water and a small rag and cup--that's a great set of toys! She only stopped playing when she slapped her hand down into the plastic bowl and splashed water all over her face.
A long thread or string is a toy. A throwaway DVD is a toy (perhaps not for older kids who might crack it, but a little one will simply put their finger in the hole and look at the shine and reflections). An old medicine bottle with a childproof cap can be used as a rattle. A shoe with buckles is a toy. Sandpaper is a toy, but keep your eye on the baby and take it away after a couple of minutes. A plastic sack with tied knots can be a toy. A hair brush is a toy. Toys are all over the house and you can use any that are safe and that won't fit into baby's mouth. [A big exception is dirt--kids love to play in dirt, but you need to stay by them to keep them from trying to eat it.]
At a young age, a toy is simply anything that will cause the child to investigate its appearance and feel, and how it works. Next time you start to throw something in the trash, think about whether it safe to give to your babies to play with for ten minutes. THEN throw it away.
Children's games are much the same way. Peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek always seems to bring a smile from the little ones. I tossed a light plastic ball back and forth last night with my little granddaughter, another game. A game might be to teach the child to somersault or to ride a pony on your knee. A game is really anything that two of you can play together.
Add the reading of books and dancing to music--and you'll have bright and winning children!
Radical Catholic Mom posts a lot of short commentaries on her blog from Alaska. She usually gives an unusual twist to her stories because of her background as a former Catholic volunteer in Costa Rica, and as a language instructor to Muslim students from the Balkans, West Africa, Nigeria, and Malasia. In particular, she has many pieces of good advice for other young mothers--such as traveling with babies.
Personally, I've determined that babies between the ages of about 8 and 18 months never travel well during the day, so my advice is:
Travel in the evening when they sleep
Leave them with Grandma and Grandpa while you travel (but don't stay away too long!)
Don't take a trip until the baby gets older.
BTW, the psychologists say (according to Dr. James Dobson) that the only time in a child's life that you can increase his/her intelligence is between the ages of 8 and 18 months!
I attended Mass this Sunday morning in a western state and the young priest began his sermon by firmly stating his support of Benedict XVI. The subject was the Papal address at the University of Regensburg that is resulting in violent Muslim reactions throughout the world, including the murder of an Italian nun and attacks on multiple Christian churches.
The priest's sermon was comprehensive and far-reaching. First of all, he quoted sufficient material from the Pope's address to show the thrust and reasonableness of the Papal speech. Second, he put the Pope's remarks into the context of the history of Islam. Third, he briefly recounted the multitude of recent acts of violence by Muslims. Fourth, he stressed the Mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and her rosary, as the answer to Islamic agression--as happened in the past and will happen in the future.
The histories of northern Africa, the Middle East, and Spain were summarized to show only the last area succeeded in repelling Islam, during the reign of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. The Virgin Mary's role in the 17th century victorious battles of Christian Europe against Islamic forces was described. The Virgin Mary (venerated by Muslims), especially in her appearance at Fatima (named for the daughter of Mohammed), was forecast as the hope for the future of Christianity.
The dynamic and information-full sermon ended with a comparison with the dead man that Jesus gave back to his mother. He said Islam is the dead man that Jesus wants to give to his Mother, Mary.
I wish all Catholics in the world could hear the young priest's remarks. Unfortunately, the young priest spoke in a church that is not yet in the good graces of Rome. I wonder how many NO priests will support the Pope as firmly as the young priest I heard this Sunday.