The discussion centered about death and our achievements in life.
Father Ignatius said, “Imagine you are dead and resting in your open coffin. Your family and friends pass by to pay their last respects. What would you want them to say?”
Someone hesitantly said that she’d like people to say that she was a good wife and mother and that she always attended Mass on Sunday.
Another person added that he was a good doctor and did his best for his patients.
A third parishioner went on to say that she was a good teacher and cared for all the children in her care.
Father Ignatius noted that Theodore Luxton-Joyce, the eccentric millionaire and generous donor to the church, was scribbling away in his notepad and was somewhat un-interested. He’d only attended the Meeting to accompany his lovely wife Rose.
So the priest asked him, “How about you Theodore? What would you like people to say when they see you lying in your open coffin?”
“I’d like them to say ‘I’ve seen him move …’ ” came the swift reply as everyone laughed.
As the laughter died down Father Ignatius continued, “I’m sure they’ll say you had a great sense of humor too …
“But on a more serious note … how exactly will we be remembered?
“A parishioner once told me that it was hypocritical to always speak well of the dead. If a person had been nasty and bad in his life, the only difference is that he is now a dead nasty and bad person. And to pretend otherwise would be insincere.
“This is a little uncharitable perhaps; but that parishioner had a point.”
Father Ignatius stopped, as he often did, to punctuate the importance of what he had just said.
He then continued, “Now is the time to ensure that people will be honest when they speak about us.
“We do this by remembering Christ’s commandment to love one another. And to practice that commandment.
“The best gift we can offer each other is our presence. We all have a part to play in other people’s lives. Just think for a moment how many people rely on you … your spouse, your children, your elderly parents, your neighbors perhaps … if you’re a teacher or a doctor the children in your school rely on you, as well as your patients …
“I need not go on. But the point I’m making is that we should be generous with our time with these people. Our very presence on this earth can be a source of great joy and happiness to others.
“When Jesus was raised to Heaven, His disciples missed Him and were sad to see Him leave them. They were totally devastated and confused.
“Missing someone is a sure sign that their presence affected your life in a good way.
“So let us be remembered not for who we were but for what we have done; and how we made a real difference for the good in someone’s life.
“And even though we might not move in our open coffin, as Theodore hopes, at least our lives will have moved others".