|Milborne St Andrew cemetery, late in the afternoon of Saturday 14 December.|
At yesterday's funeral Ali's soul was commended to God and her body laid to rest in the cemetery at Milborne St Andrew. In her final weeks she very often said "I want to go home." She was referring to her heavenly "home." I asked if she wanted to "go home" because she was suffering too much and could no longer bear it, and she replied, "No, I just want to be with Jesus."
Ali knew that her true home was not in the village of Milborne St Andrew where she lived from 1987, but with God in heaven. She knew that her body - through which she lived, loved, prayed, worked, encouraged others, spread joy, cried and suffered, etc. - would decay but that it would be the seed for her glorious body which would rise on the last day. Ali believed in the resurrection of the dead. She expressed her belief in it each day in prayer. She knew that we live to die. She lived exceptionally well and died exceptionally well. One may, as it were, 'envy' her for having lived a life of intense suffering - yet one with joy and love and hope - for she will experience resurrection in an exceptionally glorious body that few if any of us may expect for ourselves.
At a Catholic funeral one prays for the dead, that they may rest in peace. Catholics pray for the dead, because we recognise the unlikelihood of being ready to be with God in heaven when we die and that we therefore need a period of purification in the place that is called purgatory. At the funeral of Pope John Paul II, his sanctity was so evident that, while the funeral was the occasion for commending his soul to God, Cardinal Ratzinger (as he was then) boldly expressed in his homily a conviction that he was already in heaven, saying: "We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us."
I attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square in Rome in April 2005. I am convinced that yesterday I attended, for the second time in my life, the funeral of a saint. I am also convinced that one day Ali will be recognised by the Church not just as a saint but as one of the great saints.
The proper funeral observances for Ali have now been completed. I know that my immediate work will focus on publishing information about her that has been hidden for many years so that she will become better known. I am convinced that she will also begin her work from heaven now to help those who are seeking the truth, seeking God, suffering or in any kind of difficulty. I encourage others to seek her help.
|Ali in 2006|