The Earl E. Myers Story
Homily for Earl Myers Funeral Mass
Earl E Myers
I accept, O my god, all the torments of this earth bunched together. I desire them as my portion, but I could never resign myself to being separated from you for lack of love. Ah, for pity’ sake do not permit this poor soul to go astray; never allow my hope to be deluded. Never let me be separated from you, and if I am at this moment, unknowingly, separated from you, then rescue me this very moment. Enlighten my mind, O my God, so that I may know myself fully and recognize the great love you have shown me, and allow me to enjoy for all eternity the supreme beauty of your divine countenance.
O dear Jesus, never let me lose this precious treasure that you are for me. My Lord and my God, I experience too vividly in my soul the ineffable tenderness that pours forth from your eyes, the love with you, my only Good, condescend to gaze on this miserable creature.
How can the torment of my heart be placated, the agony of knowing I am far from you? My soul is well aware of the terrible battle I endured when you, O my Beloved hid yourself from me! O my most tender Lover, how clearly is this terrible and frightening image imprinted on my soul!
Who will ever be capable of eliminating or extinguishing the ardent flames of this fire which burns in my breast for you? Ah, Lord, do not take pleasure in hiding yourself; you know what confusion and tumult this causes in all the faculties of my soul and in all my feelings! You see that my soul cannot bear the cruel torment of this abandonment, for you have enchanted it too much O infinite Beauty!
You know how anxiously my soul seeks you. This anxiety is no less than that of your spouse in the sacred Songs; my soul too, like that holy spouse, wanders in the public streets and in the squares and adjures the daughters of Jerusalem to tell her where her Beloved is: I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love. (Song 5:8)
During the past few years and most especially in the final days of my Father’s life, he spent time to assess the order of his life with the help of Saint Padre Pio who became his spiritual companion. It was an opportunity for him to set right anything that may be amiss, by some positive action and virtue on his part. My Dad’s life was a life filled with adventure and great accomplishments. His life was also a life of great struggle, interior pain and suffering and mental anguish which many do not know about. In the end and by the grace of God and only by the grace of God did he win the good fight and conquered his weaknesses.
During times like this as we gather in prayer we, too, are given an opportunity to assess the order of our own lives.
Thomas Jefferson once said,
I think we all have the Wisdom of knowing what we ought to do.
This is what I witnessed along with my sister and brothers during the final days and hours of our Father’s death. We could see what was had taken place the past 3 years with spiritual nudges from God to make spiritual advancements. It was all in preparation for his final hour.
It is hard to explain in mere human words what we all witnessed with Dad. With our simple faith, we witnessed how he grew in Spiritual Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding through the mercies of God.
The encyclical, Rich in Mercy (Nov. 30, 1980), of Pope John Paul II, as well as his prior encyclical, Redeemer of Mankind (March 3, 1979), establish basic priorities and goals for mankind and human life today.
Pope John Paul’s theological reflection brings God and His attitude toward mankind into the foreground. His reflections are particularly pertinent to this funeral mass. Using the scriptures as a starting point for meditating on the experiences of modern life, John Paul leads us to the central fact of our Christian life the Paschal mysteries of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Dad’s preparation for death, death itself and this Christian funeral liturgy is also a time for us for restoring our ideals. All of us have a longing for meaningfulness in our lives. Goals and values we must have and pursue energetically, otherwise we lose sight of our ultimate end our life in eternity with God.
This is a time which challenges us right now to face up to our shortcomings, and provides a new call, a new opportunity to put proper emphasis on the spiritual dimensions of life through prayer and salutary self-discipline.
It is good that we have this Funeral Liturgy today which is the last week of ordinary time before Lent begins next week with Ash Wednesday. It calls us to conversion, invites us to rely on God’s mercy, and to bear witness to His Mercy. Let this day, as well as the days of Lent, be a great opportunity and time leading us to conversion in the sense of re-establishing true priorities in our lives, and particularly the priority of God’s mercy. In contrast to the impersonal and severe image of a judge, we wish to follow Jesus who came to reveal and proclaim the Father of mercy. This is the unique appeal of Jesus’ life a proclamation of the mystery of God as the Father of mercies.
An appreciation of God’s mercy will effect changes in our lives as it did with my Dad. God’s mercy will enable us to experience the profound joy of conversion, a conversion rooted in prayer and virtuous acts. From this conversion comes a profound spiritual peace.
God does not give peace against our will or in the face of our resistance. We may resist for many years of our life. It is God who creates peace, and it is for us to bring together the elements of longing, of expectancy, of hope which make it possible to receive God’s peace, to share it with each other, as we kids did with our Dad during his final hours; as we are sharing it right now in the celebration at this liturgy.
As Dad came to know Padre Pio and the more he came know the Blessed Mother in recent years, Dad came to know God’s word and His teachings, which always tell us how to live in such a way that we will know peace and joy; a peace and joy that begins here on earth and stretches into eternity where time is no more. His teachings are always present to us with consolation and with a challenge. We are all poor and weak and powerless but we are spiritual millionaires, because God’s own riches and strength and power are ours for the asking.
It is so easy for us to become discouraged because of our failures, faults, our weaknesses. Such discouragement is always a sign that we are unconsciously depending on ourselves rather than on God. If, indeed, our peace and joy were dependent upon our own accomplishments, our own strength, we would have good reasons to be discouraged and fearful, but they do not. God wants us to ask. But we must be careful what we ask for. If great material, wealth, power and control over other’s lives, praise and flattery if these things are what we seek, we are unwittingly asking for the stone, the poisonous snake, of which Christ speaks of in the scripture. If, on the other hand, we ask for God’s better gifts, His grace, His life, we are asking for peace and joy, and He will keep the promise He makes to us in the Gospel.
Peace, spiritual peace, is one of the marvelous gifts of grace that is experienced by God’s people. It is the most marvelous gifts received by my Dad after years of seeking. Being disposed to God’s marvelous love and mercy, he experienced this most comforting grace. He became serene; a soul at peace with God and with all those around him. It is definitely a special blessing from God.
What I have learned in more depth from my Father’s final hours and death itself, which I share with you for your spiritual insight and growth, is that this grace must be earned. My Dad requested that I bring to him the wooden carved image of Jesus which made an everlasting impression upon him ever since he first saw and bought it in Spain at the flee market in 1963. I brought it to him during Christmas so he could meditate upon the face of Christ. This he did. During the past few years he also developed a special relationship with Padre Pio, a Capuchin Franciscan, who died in 1968 to be his spiritual companion. It was through Padre Pio who led way for my Dad’s conversion of heart. Dad also told me in a private conversation during my recent Christmas visit that he was praying 7 Our Father’s and 7 Hail Mary’s three times during the day; morning, afternoon and evening. He also told me that he had gone to confession and felt a burden being lifted from his soul. With all he did for his spiritual well-being in recent times and all the good he did during his entire life did not go unnoticed by God. With the many prayers on his behalf throughout his life from those who loved him and with all the graces he earned brought him spiritual peace at his final hours. I will always remember. I saw and came to know a soul, my Father, who became a man of patience, kindness, courtesy, considerate, a forgiving spirit, and a spirit of prayer. Nothing in his past life stands out any more as does his final hours of life. A peaceful man; a man of peace; a man filled with God.
Lord make me an instrument of your peace so begins the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi whom Padre Pio loved so much. May we be peaceful and serene Christians where we will sow love, hope, and faith; where we will be men and women who will console, will understand, and will be forgiving.
Being spiritually peaceful or peace-filled people will allow us to go about doing good as Jesus did, and will bring to others the gift of peace.
I thank God for the grace that my Dad was and is to my sister, Ann, my brothers, Steve and Kipp, and to all.
I pray for my Dad; I pray with my Dad, that our loving Father will receive him into his eternal home, where he will be at peace in the hand of God.
I also ask through my Dad’s prayers and intercession that we all may be welcomed into our eternal home in the peace of Christ.
Homilist: Father Christopher P Myers, SOLT