They are not There

The end of our lives is something that is ultimately inevitable. No one has escaped death; but yet our souls have granted us an immortality that no other creature possesses.

Not everyone is able to comprehend death in this way, and when a member of the family or a good friend has fallen asleep in the arms of Our Lord (please God), we sometimes resort to the inner castle of despair: locking up our happiness in the cells and feasting on the misery of our loss. Admittedly, this is quite natural for us to do. It’s the grieving process! However, would it be fair to say that death is the culmination of life? I don’t think so.

Death is not death in that after which what had existed no longer exists. Our bodies die, our souls do not. What we have on earth cannot be taken up with us, because at death, the bonds of human frailty escape us and our Eternal Reward awaits us. God’s judgement cannot be guessed or presumed. We do know that the saints are in Heaven, joyously before the throne of the King of Heaven and Earth, but we cannot imagine the multitude of souls in purgatory who desperately need our prayers. Nor can we estimate the number of souls that have been cast into Hell.

You might think I’m gone cracked! Reflecting on death when I am so young, when a whole life lays ahead, but it is always right to pray for a good death and to remember that death spares no one. The state of our souls is something that is to be examined each and every day. The state of grace allows us to see the face of God, his Blessed Mother, and the saints and angels. Many people think they can get along and ignore the wounds they’ve placed in their hearts, however the truth cannot escape the reality. Sin is dangerous.

Sin puts our souls into a great state of peril, the washing away of which can only be done through the sacrament that we are most available to: Confession. Remember your penance.

Throughout my life I’ve attended many funerals and wakes, am familiar with all the traditions. Those closest to me have given up the ghost, and I pray for them to this day. It is good to occasionally remind ourselves of this because “…to lead a good life a man should always imagine himself at the hour of death…“, as St Bonaventure says. That simple reminder is enough to inspire goodness in anyone.

I feel like I have gone off topic, but it’s a good branch on the tree to travel on. Someone you knew and loved is no longer here with you, but you will meet again.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die. (Mary E Frye)

This is not the poetry declaring a belief of tenant of faith, but it is a poem of comfort at the time of death. But is there any truth to it? It’s amazing how the simple things described like the “diamond glints on snow” and the “gentle autumn rain” can truly send us back into the memories we’ve had with such a person.

Perhaps the deaths of two people in the last week, two prominent members of the community is getting to me. But I’ll be fine and we’ll all be fine. Prayers are in order!

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