Monday, November 20, 2006

This Dying Year and Our Mother

"Here lies another day during which I had eyes, ears, hands and the great world around me, and tomorrow begins another. Why am I allowed two?
- G. K. Chesterton

As we get closer to the end of the Church Year, I always feel a pull on my heart, resonating with all of the apocalyptic, "end-of-time" scripture readings.

This is not because I believe the Second Coming of Christ is going to happen any time soon. I lived through that 'Hal Lindsey" phase in my teen-age years (the early 1970's if you are counting). I even wanted to go to a Bible School rather than a "real" accredited college because accreditation didn't really matter if the end was nigh.

As I have gotten older I have realized that there is a far more important fact to be faced, and we humans are loathe to do so. Death is inevitable....

No matter what the external world indicates we will all,
all of us without exception, face death and the final reckoning.

I know that statement sounds a little morbid, but this insight is very real to those of us who have known death in our families and among our friends.

And in a supreme irony of fate, the simple recognition of that sobering fact makes the stars shine a little brighter, the frost nip a little nippier on the nose. The recognition that some day all of this will be gone (at least for us) makes us more thankful than ever for what we do have, right now, where we stand in this life.
Do you remember the character Emily in the Thornton Wilder play, Our Town? Every passing Autumn I feel a little more empathy with her anguished, unheard cries from beyond the grave in Grover's Corners, New Hampshire.

"Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?"

Life passes so very quickly, doesn't it?

But I also have a new Companion on my journey this year. She has helped me face my own mortality, because of Her own journey to the Father. I hope you will find Her too. She is a great Companion in Sorrow. Here is a quote about Her from that saint whose doily-laced Holy Card forms the header to this post:

Love Mary! She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you.

She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity. -

Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother

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