Funeral Service for former Taoiseach, Mr. Albert Reynolds.
Service of Reception August 23rd
Homily from Mgr. Lorcan O’Brien, Donnybrook Parish
Readings: Sir.3:1,3-5,8, 12- 16. Ps. Only In God. Mt.5: 1- 11.
‘Where is the Life we have lost in the living?
Where is the wisdom, we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to Dust.’
The opening verses of Choruses from the Rock by T.S. Eliot, sound a note of despair and frustration at the cycle of life, birth to death and the endless cycles of idea, action, invention and experiment that seem ultimately non-productive and leading nowhere.
This evening we welcome to his parish church in death a man who was rooted in the real. The realities of his life, his roots in Rooskey and Longford in the Reynolds family, work, business, music, the love of his life, Kathleen his wife, his seven children, Miriam, Philip, Emer, Leonie, Albert, Cathy and Andrea and their families; his political life, as T.D. his service of the state as Minister in a variety of departments and finally Taoisech. We mourn his death. We give thanks for the gift of the man that he was and for the much that he achieved. We honour his memory. We acknowledge our loss. We pray for him, for his family and for ourselves.
Albert Reynolds was a man who wholeheartedly engaged with the realities of his life and engaged with passion, with purpose, with courage. His achievements were significant. ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled’. ‘Blessed are those who mourn, who are moved by the suffering, needs and deaths of others, for they will be comforted’. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are children of God’.
Albert Reynolds’ engagement with the realities of life was grounded not just in a spirit of adventure, enterprise and optimism, but in a strong faith in the mystery of God, God who has revealed himself in Jesus. He was a man of faith in God and in people.
Sickness and death are part of life’s realities. The death of Jesus on the cross, at the heart of life Jesus and at the heart of our faith, was a brutal reality. So was Albert Reynolds’ long debilitating illness. In the reality of the death of Jesus, through the power of his resurrection, we have come to know the presence of a loving and merciful God at work in the facts. Reality, engaged with faith, is a saving grace. When we glimpse the disclosure of God in the rhythms and facts of our lives, when we are men and women of faith, it is then that we are most in touch with reality. Honesty and courageously naming the real is engaging with the presence of a God who loves us and whose love is made tangible in our realities.
The love, respect, support and care you, Kathleen his wife, and your family gave to your husband and father in his days of decline, was a striking witness to a loving God at the heart of your reality. ‘Kindness to a father is not forgotten by God and a blessing will indeed come on you from him.’
His declining years were his gradual movement to God. On the journey he was accompanied by grace. Life does not go to nowhere. The life of this man for whom we pray this evening, is a concrete expression that well lived, as his life was, through the love, mercy and forgiveness of God, is a life that goes to Gold, that God gathers to himself. As we bring him this evening with faith and with affection to rest in this Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook, his parish Church we say, may he rest in peace. We pray that the Lord Jesus will say ‘Rejoice and be glad, child of God. Your reward will be great in heaven.’
Further information Annette O Donnell, Director of Communications, Archdiocese of Dublin.