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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Homily for Queen Mother by Archbishop Vincent Nichols today
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 The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, celebrated a Requiem Mass in thanksgiving for the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, today at 12.15pm, at St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham. During his sermon Archbishop Nichols said: In her address to the nation earlier this week, Her Majesty The Queen said of her mother: 'I know that her faith was always a great strength to her.' Today, in that same faith, we come to prayer for Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, to commend her soul to God and to pray for all who mourn the loss of her presence among us, especially for her daughter Queen Elizabeth and all the Royal Family. The words of the Gospel we have heard today point to the source of the strength of faith which we all need. Jesus says to each one of us 'Trust in God still, and trust in me.' and 'I am going to prepare a place for you.' These words of the Lord must have given such comfort to The Queen Mother, as they do to us also. We live well and peacefully when we place our trust in God. We die well and peacefully when we know that that Lord is there to welcome us. For her, and for each of us, life and death are intertwined. The way we live in this life prepares us for death; our death completes, as it were, our life and is the gateway to eternal life. So many words have been spoken about the way in which The Queen Mother lived her life. May I highlight just two. The Queen Mother understood and lived her place within an extended family: a loyal wife, a respected mother, and a much-loved grandmother. Of course it is no ordinary family. But nevertheless, we know that she lived her life in terms of relationships with others. There have been so many signs of how important those relationships were. In many ways, as the years went by, quite simply she lived her life for others. In doing so she pointed to the secret of the Gospel, and the secret of following Christ. Christ gave his life for others. In doing so he shows us the truth of God who as our Creator, shares His life with us both now and in the eternal life to come. As people of faith we do well to do the same. Today, then, we give thanks for sense of belonging, and of sharing life, that we receive in our families. Let us pray, too, for a strengthening of family life in our country. The second thing I wish to say about The Queen Mother is this: She has reminded us all of the immense value of the wisdom of old age. Older people, like her, are, as it were, the guardians of our collective memory. The elderly are often able to offer young people precious advice and guidance. We know that the Queen Mother did so. Also, elderly people, such as her, remind us that, in our fast-paced world, not everything is gained at speed. Rather it is often only when we are, in the eyes of some, passed our best, that the best is seen. This lovely lady lived through an age of unbelievable technological change, yet retained and developed those qualities, which so appealed to us, right up to the time of her death. Let us pray today that our society learns again how to appreciate the elderly and to ensure that they are not put away, out of sight and out of mind, unable to contribute their wisdom to families and societies, which are in such need of wisdom. Early this week, all the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales met here in Birmingham. At the start of our meeting, the first thing we did was to pray for The Queen Mother. That prayer can become our prayer today, here in St Chad's Cathedral: God of endless ages From one generation to the next You have been our refuge and our strength. Before the mountains were born Or the earth came to be, You are God. Have mercy on your servant Elizabeth Whose long life was spent in your service. Give her a place in your kingdom, Where hope is firm for all who love And rest is sure for all who serve. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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