Friday, May 7, 2010

Eulogy for my Grandfather

In the Old Testament, the prophet Micah tells us: “You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do what is right, and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Through the amazing Gift of God’s grace and love, Pop-Pop’s life was a constant witness to this verse of scripture. 
Pop-Pop did what was right
In every role and call of his journey, as son, brother, husband, father, friend, serviceman, veteran, and employee, his was a life of quiet faithfulness, of selflessness, of sacrifice, of doing what is right even when it was not easy.
Pop-Pop loved goodness
To love goodness is more than just loving good things, but loving things in the right order, and to the right degree. He knew that God is the ultimate good, and that the primary way he was to love God was by loving Mom-Mom. By grace, he knew this and lived this, in some big ways but mostly countless small ways, day in and day out for 64 years, making a total gift of his very self to his beloved bride. And since the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother, than I don’t think Uncle Jim, Aunt Jeanne, Mom and Aunt Barb could possibly have had a better father in this world. Mom-Mom of course knew this and lived it fully too, and their witness has touched everyone here and countless others over four generations. So far. Now reunited for three days, with eternity still to go, they are just getting started!

With that love of God and Family as the foundation for everything else Pop-Pop then loved and was grateful for so many other good things of this earth: smoking a pipe while reading the Inquirer, sharing a Manhattan with Mom-Mom, conversation in the shade of the front yard maple tree, a Harry Kalas home run call.  Indeed, from the most transcendent goods to the simplest pleasures, from Almighty God to a cold beer, from family to a meal at the Springfield Inn, from the freedoms of this country to a side-splitting night with the Crazy Eight, Pop-pop loved goodness wherever it was found.
Pop-Pop walked humbly
He was very much like a St. Joseph figure in our lives. Humble and hidden, but always present. Always protecting and providing and loving. Despite traveling in the war to every continent and crossing the equator thirty times, Pop-pop knew that there was more true adventure to be found in home and hearth than in going far and doing great things in the eyes of this world. History books will not record him, but his life has an eternal significance. The depth and breadth of love and laughter found in the row home on North Penn St, or the twin on Woodland Ave, could never be found in any dozen Main Line mansions, and Pop-Pop’s humble walk with God is at the heart of this great reality.
St. Francis of Assisi is said to have admonished his brothers: “Preach the Gospel always, and only if necessary, use Words.” I only very rarely heard words from Pop-Pop’s lips about Jesus, but his life proclaimed the Gospel as truly as any great missionary or evangelist, and I thank him so much for all that he has taught me about being a Christian husband and father. For me, and I’m sure every one of us here, no words were necessary to hear the message of his life loudly and clearly. And so we say thank you, Dick Farrell, for preaching the Gospel, for 90 years of doing right, of loving goodness, and walking humbly with our God. We are here today praying for you; please pray for us to learn from your example, and to grow closer to Christ our Lord.

Eternal Rest Grant unto Him O Lord … and May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him.

James R. "Dick" Farrell
January 3, 1920 - May 5, 2010

(Delivered at his funeral mass, May 7, 2010 St. Dorothy Church Drexel Hill, PA)

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