“Here is the man: a desire for life, for love, for happiness”.
The title says it all and nothing is more adequate than “all” for any person including the thousands who overflowed the magnificent Cathedral of Milan for Wednesday’s funeral of Sergio Berlusconi, a man who dominated the Italian political scene for three decades.
The mourners included his wives and mistresses, politicians and priests, representatives of the media companies and sporting teams he owned and many who envied his power and position as one of the money-rich men in the world.
As the body of Sergio Berlusconi was carried into the duomo for Wednesday’s State Funeral every Italian had an opinion about this controversial character, known for his money and mistresses, scandals and sex parties, accusations and court appearances as much as for his political leadership in three terms as prime minister.
In the midst of Wednesday’s obsequies, the archbishop of Milan gave a homily, not a collection of funeral cliches and religious jargon, nor a fabricated eulogy, but an uncompromising and right-to-the-heart-of-the-matter reflection, almost awkwardly brief, and too good not to share on FFF.
Here it is, the funeral homily of Archbishop Mario Delpini.
Loving and wanting to be loved.
Loving and seeking love, like a promise of life, like a complicated story, like a compromised fidelity.
Desiring to be loved and fearing that love can only be a concession, a condescension.
To love and to want to be loved forever and to experience the disappointments of love and to hope that there might be a way to a higher, stronger, greater love.
Loving and walking the paths of dedication.
To love and to hope.
Loving and trusting.
Love and surrender.
This is what can be said of a man: a desire for love, which finds its judgment and its fulfilment in God.
Be happy and love the holidays.
Enjoy the beauty of life.
Being happy without too many thoughts and without too many anxieties.
To be happy with lifelong friends.
Be happy with companies that give satisfaction.
Being happy and wanting others to be happy too.
Being happy with yourself and being surprised that others are not happy.
Being happy with the good things, the beautiful moments, the applause of the people, the praise of the supporters.
Enjoy the company.
Being happy with the minimal things that make you smile, with the nice gesture, with the gratifying result.
Being happy and experiencing that joy is precarious.
Being happy and feeling the insinuation of a dark threat that covers the things that make you happy with greyness.
To be content and to feel lost in the face of the irremediable exhaustion of joy.
This is what can be said of man: a desire for joy, which finds its judgment and its fulfilment in God
When a man is a businessman, then he tries to do business. He therefore has customers and competitors. He has moments of success and moments of failure. He ventures into reckless enterprises. He looks at the numbers and not at the criteria. He has to do business. He cannot trust others too much and knows that others don’t trust him too much. He’s a businessman and he has to do business.
When a man is a politician, then he tries to win. He has supporters and opponents. There are those who exalt it and those who cannot bear it. A politician, in our times, is always a partisan.
When a man is a character, then he’s always on stage. He has admirers and detractors. He has those who applaud him and those who hate him.
Silvio Berlusconi was certainly a politician, he was certainly a businessman, he was certainly a figure in the limelight of fame.
But, in this moment of farewell and prayer, what can we say about Silvio Berlusconi?
He was a man: a desire for life, a desire for love, a desire for joy.
And now we celebrate the mystery of fulfilment.
Here is what can be said about Silvio Berlusconi.
He is a man and now he meets God.
(The homily ended with the congregation breaking into applause)