Friday, 10 May 2013

Seven Quick Takes V


I went for two funerals in the past week. I realized that a) I am uncomfortable with public displays of grief and b) people from different backgrounds grieve very differently. I've never lost anyone very close to me, but I'm pretty sure the highest level of display of grief in my family would be muted sobs.

One funeral I went for was of the brother of a lady who used to work for my family. She's from a village, a different world from the one I grew up in. As people went up to pay their last respects, the closer family started wailing loudly. Friends and family held them close, and even the teenage sons cried audibly, and were held by their friends. I can't imagine my brothers doing that.

On the one hand, I feel uncomfortable, and wonder if some are deliberately working themselves up, because I've heard that in some cultures, if you don't cry loudly, people will think you aren't really sorry about your loss. On the other hand, their visible emotion allowed their friends to share their grief, and give physical comfort. It seems to me that people who hold it in often suffer from depression, and it's a lot harder to help them when they've isolated themselves. Here, grief was a community affair.


As I heard all the typical funeral Mass readings, and reflected on death, I felt like there is something wrong with depths of grief at a Christian funeral. I mean, I realize that of course I would be sad to lose someone close to me, but my sorrow would be much more for ME than for them. If I do believe what I profess to believe, then if that person died in friendship with God, I'm not afraid for them or sad for them, I am happy, because they are FREE! (After the purification process, of course, which is still not a reason for sorrow.)

I know it's easy to say all these things when I'm merely a detached observer. But I'm still leaving instructions for my family to REJOICE when I die. (That sounds a little strange.) Assuming I haven't died in unrepented mortal sin. Not sure what the proper way to celebrate that kind of funeral is.


Is it possible to be both boring and creative at the same time? Only if you're me. See, I like to make handmade cards. But. I don't like coming up with new and effective and easy ideas for designs. So if I hit on something that works, I just replicate the same design for the next few months of birthday cards.


On a shallow note, everyone keeps talking about hair and hairstyling products, and such girlish nonsense. For years, I've been one of the most unadventurous, what-does-external-beauty matter, simplicity-is-the-bomb kinda people, much to the despair of my mother. Part of my whatever-ness was due to the fact that I had crazy hair for many years. I wanted this:
Yup, Rachel from FRIENDS was cool when I was 15.

And instead I had this:

Yes, it's the annoying girlfriend from Sleepless in Seattle, with the annoying laugh, and the annoying hair.

My mother kept trying to convince me it was pretty, while I kept trying to remind her that we were no longer in the 80s. Although I'm still kinda lazy about such things, I do take a little more trouble than I used to. One miracle recipe that has changed my hair from being super dry and sticking out in all sorts of unbecoming ways is the tried and true traditional Indian method- hair oil.

When I was a kid, many friends would come to school with their hair shiny and smelling of Parachute coconut oil. I always found it gross, especially since my mum never did it to us. But in recent years, with the high levels of pollution ravaging our skin and our hair, and so much of my hair falling out that it brought chemotherapy to mind, I decided it was time to try SOMETHING. So out came the Parachute coconut oil, an excuse for my mum to massage my head, and an hour later I washed it out. It worked wonders!


Okay, enough already with the hair tips. This is not that kind of blog.


I recently read this post on the Catholic Answers Blog- Let's Talk about Jesus. Patrick Coffin says Catholic bloggers talk more about 'abortion, canon law, the magisterium, Church history, principles of apologetics, natural law, "faith," virtue, sacraments, grace, divine Providence, the priesthood, liberalism, social justice, the criteria for the worthily reception of Holy Communion, pornography, Calvinism, contraception" than they do about Jesus.

As soon as I read it, I thought, "That's true!" I wonder whether some Catholic bloggers assume that if they talk about Jesus as a Person whom they know intimately, they would sound more like Protestants. I recently had someone tell me that the term "personal relationship with Jesus" sounds too Protestant.

Well.... is the Pope Catholic?

“It is necessary to awaken again in believers a full relationship with Christ, mankind’s only Savior. Only from a personal relationship with Jesus can an effective evangeli­zation develop.”
- Pope John Paul II

But we ourselves must be personally involved in an intimate and profound relationship with Jesus.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Rome, October 4, 2006

"Christianity is not a new philosophy or new morality. We are Christians only if we encounter Christ... Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we really become Christians... Therefore, let us pray to the Lord to enlighten us, so that, in our world, he will grant us the encounter with his presence, and thus give us a lively faith, an open heart, and great charity for all, capable of renewing the world."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, Sept. 3, 2008
"If you haven't had an encounter with Jesus Christ, you are not a Christian."
-Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) in an interview with the president of YWAM (an ecumenical missionary organization) in Argentina

"I think intimacy with Jesus should be at the core of our faith, and that evangelization means inviting others to know Him in the same intimate way."


I haven't been a big novena prayer in the past, I can actually count on one hand the number of novenas I've prayed in my life. But this is one that the Lord has poked and prodded me into praying more than once. In fact, this will be my third time to pray the Novena to the Holy Spirit, which starts tomorrow and finishes on the feast of Pentecost on Sunday, 19th May, 2013. 

If you haven't done it before (and even if you have), go for it! Who doesn't need a little more Holy Spirit in their lives?


  1. We are going to TRY to complete the Novena

    1. I missed one day one time, but just did two the next day :-) I think effort counts.

  2. Come holy spirit ....

  3. #1/2: I'm a Lutheran pastor's wife and I agree -- the funeral is largely for us though the prayers, Mass, etc. do have some benefit to the deceased. I've been to some really tough Christian funerals with lots of sobbing but those were usually deaths where the person died very suddenly. I've also attended a couple funerals that were "celebrations of life" in the true sense where people actually specified the hymns, readings, etc. before they died and stories were shared about the deceased that talked about the kind of person they were and the joy they must be having in Heaven.

    1. I think even lots of sobbing would be sad, but understandable (for me). It's the loud wailing I found difficult to handle. And the deceased had been bedridden for seven years, unable even to move himself, so it was a merciful release.

      I like the 'celebration of life'... earthly and heavenly.