Saturday, November 1, 2014

An Even Stranger Mystery!

Ignatius House
St. Matthias Parish
Lanham, MD

Dear Friends,

The last two weeks have more than consumed my time.  I will try to resume the daily attention to a blog posting.  The following is for All Souls Day.

This is a day that reminds all who are walking upon the face of the earth that we live with one absolute reality:  to each and every life there is ultimate conclusion, an end.  Today, perhaps more so than on other days we face a reality that is true mystery.  Likewise it is a mystery that has always fascinated humankind.
In the first letter to the Corinthians, the great preacher, St. Paul, provides insights not only for the Corinthian Community but for men and women of every generation.

Today, in true Ignatian mode, let me share three great truths from Paul’s letter that can assist each of us as we daily grow closer to that day which will be known as our last day on this earth.

First Point:  Each of us is making our way toward death
Your death and my death are a sure thing.  It is the only bet you will not lose.  Regardless of the pills, exercise and the books we read about living a longer life, there is no stopping the day that the same God who planned our arrival on this earth, will call us from this life as we know it.   Should anyone bot believe this truth, a slow walk through a cemetery should remove any doubts or wishes to the contrary:  one day each of us will die!

The sobering truth, however, can be there rarity which makes our lives more satisfying, more fruitful.  Growing more mindful of our estimate reality, we can become wiser about how we use all the graces God has given us, especially how we invest our time and gifts with people.  Anyone who has endured a life threatening moment, can remind us how that moment made them more concerned about the way they choose to life “rest of the story.”

Truth Number Two:  Death does not have the final word.
Paul sees this truth not so much in the death of Jesus but in his resurrection.  He makes clear that the death of Jesus foreshadows the actual death of death itself as it was understood in Jesus’ time.
It is in Jesus death and resurrection that God gives us a picture of what happens at the moment of death:  We see that death is not the final door.  After death itself there is more, a more that only God can give us.

Truth Number Three: God’s gift of life beyond death is a changed existence wrapped in mystery.
St. Paul wrote “…we shall all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye at the last trumpet.”  Yet for us, because all that is wrapped up in death is a mystery, there are many questions.  “What kind of body will I have?”  “Will I be with my loved ones?  Will I recognize them?”  “Do I finally get to see God as he is?”  Myself there is one question: “Will I see those individuals who really pestered me during my life time?  How will we deal with each other in heave?”  Obviously each of us has questions.  Questions about death and life after death abound.  Scripture we might assume will give us some answers.  As Paul noted, it does not satisfy our curiosity.
We learn from this special day and the memories we hold of those who have died that, each and every day, we should be living we should be living each day, each minute, with a purpose and to the fullest.  We should not fear death but with much confidence always live with the awareness that death is not the final word.  Your death, my death, and the deaths of all we remember today and throughout this month of November are but moments between this earth and the peace and joy of a new life in God’s kingdom of heaven.
In the words that were so meaningful to Saint John Paul II, Be Not Afraid.

Oremus pro invicem,

Fr. Milt