Thursday, December 8, 2011

Souls in a storm

I'll hang on to my excuses over my missing Bright Maidens post and my absence for now.... several months ago Michelle from Catholic Unveiled asked me to help her fill some space on her blog while she served others with her big heart in Mexico. Here is my contribution that she published today:

On December 22, 2010, I woke up to one of the worst phone calls that I have ever received.On April 10 of this year I woke up feeling like someone was tugging on my throat and swinging from it like it tolled the bell in a tower. I knew she had left us.

I’ve become very familiar with funerals, the abundance of food, and handshakes over the last nine months. My great aunt died unexpectedly in November (four days before Thanksgiving), my maternal grandfather died a month later (three days before Christmas), and my paternal grandmother died a week before Palm Sunday.

An additional handful of friends and family have died since last November, placing me and my family in nine funeral Masses during the last nine months.

Someone who has to repeat outfits at the funeral home cannot easily avoid the big questions about what he or she believes about souls and life after Earth. Our logical, rational mind can get bogged down for the quest for answers to this question.

Logic and rationale are beautiful gifts of the mind; they are often helpful and the means by which we discover Truth. However, we can’t forget to think about where the rubber meets the road, especially when this vehicle is carrying a full load of grief and fear.

We are the Church, members of the Communion of Saints. When Christ conquered death and resurrected, He unified the Church beyond the weakened lines of Earthly death.

The readings for August 7 highlighted this bond and exemplifies the attendance of God in every part of our lives.

In moments of weakness, I catch myself assuming that God was only truly present with the prophets, among the Apostles, and the first disciples. Elijah had a direct telephone line to God, Moses saw Him several times, the Twelve followed Him around for three years, and then saw Him in the Upper Room after His death.

Of course they believed, I rant, their faith grew daily in His strong, factual presence.

We don’t get that luxury, I think in my self-pitying mindset. We just have to believe God cares enough to pull us out of the storm when we fall below the water’s surface.

“A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD— but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake— but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire— but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.” -1 Kings 19:11-13

God came to Elijah in the calm.

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3 comments:

Kendra said...

I liked this a lot, thanks for sharing. I've only had one funeral this year, for my paternal grandmother, and it was a life changing experience, for real. It was my first funeral since becoming an adult (I was 13 when I attended the only other funeral I've been to), so it was the first time I really reflected on what death means to me as a Catholic believer.

Anthony S. Layne said...

O Elizabeth, I understand exactly what you mean. The night before my brother Bob died, I was on my knees by my bed, weeping and begging God to help me let him go. "Where the rubber hits the road", indeed. Faced with the awful certainty of death, we either leap the chasm of faith or we shudder and collapse. It's then you know that "Thy Will be done" is at one time both the simplest prayer to say and the hardest truth the Church teaches.

Julie Robison said...

Thank you for sharing this!

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