It was a beautiful Requiem – solemn, a little bit joyful at times and a reminder that our eyes must always be fixed upon God in this life, for it is God who is our final end.
I realised that this is just how Dr Scanlon would have planned it – teaching those present, even in his death.
Because the Dr Scanlon I knew was a teacher. His enthusiasm for medicine and the dignity of the human person was palpable. He would take the time to explain anything asked of him. He was always willing to give of his time to speak up for the unborn and the devastating effects contraceptives have. One knew that if you approached Dr Scanlon with a question, you would get a well considered and truthful answer.
It is clear to me, that for Dr Scanlon, every single person mattered. From the youngest to the eldest, with his gentle spirit, he would make time for everyone. I am sure he saw in each the face of God.
There are three things that I have learnt from Dr Scanlon over the years:
Courage to speak up in the face of great injustice. Courage to speak the truth in love. Courage to correct with humility. Courage to suffer with a deep trust and abandonment to God and His will.
To embrace the cross.
Suffering is something not to be afraid of. In suffering we enter into the very heart of Jesus. When I first learnt of Dr Scanlon’s illness I knew immediately that he would be offering his suffering up. Yesterday I learnt that his great suffering was for the medical profession and for Catholic priests. Of course!
Faith, Hope and Love
Okay, so that is three things, but they go together! Dr Scanlon, in his life and in his death, has taught me to constantly have faith in God and His perfect plan; to hope in perfect trust; and to love God above all else. With these virtues in place it is easy to love our neighbour.
I have been privileged to know this great man. It has been an honour to pray for him, his beautiful wife Maria and his seven amazing children over these months. I have been profoundly affected, as have many others by Dr Scanlon’s life and faith.
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
“This kingdom free of care and filled with joy, crowded with citizens of the Old and New turned all its love and vision to one goal. O great delight that glittered for their view.”
~ Dante, Paradiso, 31. 25-28