Sermon: For Richard Roark

I don’t normally post the sermons I write for funerals, but I’ve decided that I would like to start because it is my way of remembering these individuals, so I suppose these types of posts will be more for me…

Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description.”

During our online Morning Prayer services, when someone makes a comment, I see what they are saying. And almost without fail, there would a “Good morning” from Richard. That was always nice, but it was in the Zoom Rosary service that I could actually see him and for the last twenty months or so, almost every Tuesday at noon, Richard and I would meet and pray the Rosary together. We would occasionally have others join us, but most of the time it was just the two of us. We would visit for a few minutes about life and he would always ask if I thought anyone else would join us (he never quite understood why no one else did), and then we would get down to the work at hand. Sometimes we would pray a Rosary with special intentions, but mostly… we just got together and prayed those ancient words, meditating together on the life of our Savior.

We can read and hear about Richard’s life, which will tell us something about him, but it was this faithfulness in prayer that tells me all I really need to know. The Psalmist says,

You speak in my heart and say, “Seek my face.”
Your face, LORD, will I seek.

And that was Richard. Doesn’t make him perfect, but in his life of prayer, he sought the face of the Lord, which tells me that he did the same in his life. Seeking the face of the Lord in the faces of those he encountered.

Job said,

I know that my Redeemer lives
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth.
After my awaking, he will raise me up;
and in my body I shall see God.
I myself shall see, and my eyes behold him
who is my friend and not a stranger.

Richard sought the face of the Lord and now his eyes do behold the face of his Redeemer, who receives him as a friend and a beloved child. The inheritance and reward of his faithfulness, an inheritance and reward that awaits all who call on the name of the Lord. This is our joy and our hope and the fulfillment of God’s promise to us all.

The Salve Regina or Hail, Holy Queen is the final prayer of the Rosary. I prayed it with Richard a few hours before he died: “Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile show us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

“… and after this our exile show us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” And on this day, for Richard, she has. I am thankful to know that when I pray a Rosary down here, Richard will pray with me from his new home in the Heavenly Jerusalem.

5 Replies to “Sermon: For Richard Roark”

  1. There isn’t a “love” button on your blog (a shame if I do say so myself), but thank you for putting this here. He was truly blessed by your time together and looked forward to it every Tuesday. He liked you very much, spoke fondly of you, and was glad you and I are friends.

  2. “Well done, thy good and faithful servant “ certainly applies to Richard. My sympathies to the family and friends.

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