Yesterday the W.I.N.E. blog posted a short article called “Shepherd of My Heart,” about the need every soul has to rest in the mercy of God. (It’s a short, easy read – a slice of life from the Saxton household featuring Maddie, our Aussie shepherd.)
Like any good parent, God is relentless in his love and care for us — perhaps especially when we are struggling. Today’s first reading reminds us of another side of God, the disciplinarian who loves us too much to let us remain ensnared by sin.
Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin.
Say not: “Great is his mercy;…
My many sins he will forgive.”
For mercy and anger alike are with him;
Upon the wicked alights his wrath.
Delay not your conversion to the LORD,
Put it not off from day to day.
None of us knows for sure how much time she has on the hourglass of life. Life is fleeting and fragile, and eternity is forever. The good news is that God has provided a way for us to rid ourselves of the toxic habits and unwanted burdens we carry, cleansing us in the sacrament of reconciliation and strengthening us in the Eucharist. Those who are sick and suffering can also avail themselves of the graces of the sacrament of anointing, to give them strength for the journey.
We need not fear death. Something greater is in store for each of us if we spend our lifetime following Christ. So rest in God . . . and keep short accounts.
God bless you! Pray for me as I head to Minneapolis for the W.I.N.E. conference on Saturday!
My kids tend to zone in on the morbid. It’s wired into them, somehow … and it can pop into a conversation out of nowhere. I’m just saying.
Driving past an ambulance, the question comes from the back seat: “Why do babies die, Mom?”
That’s a good question. One that isn’t easy to explain even to another adult. But after a few days of thinking about it, I’m not sure I’ll ever come up with a better response than the one I gave off the cuff.
“Honey, each time God sends a child into the world, that baby takes three things with him (or her). She takes special gifts to share with others; and special challenges to make her strong and keep her humble. And she gets a job to do — a job that only SHE can do — for God. When that job is done, God takes her back to heaven to be with Him.
“For most people, that job takes a lifetime to do — most people are very old or very sick when their time comes. God gave me a job to be your mom, for example. But some get a job that doesn’t keep them here very long … The important thing is to share your gifts, work hard to live a life pleasing to God, and trust God with your story … to call you back to heaven when He’s ready for you to come.”
If you’re in need of a little chuckle today, I’d like to direct you over to my book website, where my husband recently posted this ecumenical rib-tickler. (Note, the cartoon has several frames … you have to wait for it.)
Anyone who has ever lost a loved one too suddenly to say goodbye will related to Lionel’s anguish as he shares this moving tribute to this EM at Rejoicing For Joyce.
When our time is not God’s time (as so often happens in life), it helps to recall that there is no time in heaven. Though there is nothing more that we can do with or for our loved one here on earth (apart from the funeral), because of the love we share in Christ we are never separated wholly from those we love. We can ask God to bring that precious soul gently to Himself, and know that all the while our loved one is praying for us as well.
May the angels lead you into Paradise.
May the martyrs come to greet you on the way.
May they lead you home to the holy city,
to the new and eternal Jerusalem.
May the choirs of angels come to welcome you.
May they take you to the arms of Abraham,
where Lazarus is poor no longer,
and there may you find rest, rest eternal.
Lux eterna luceat eis. Requiescat in pace. Amen.
[Light eternal shine on him. May he (she) rest in peace. Amen.]