Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lenten Season – Day 18

BEADS OF JOY 3-13-12 “Never Fear Death In This Life”
©2012 James Dacey, Jr. OFS

Lenten Season – Day 18
My Friends,

What is death? It is the burying of the mortal body into the ground and a releasing of the immortal soul into eternal life. No one can escape the claws of death; all of us will one day experience it. So knowing that we should be able to conquer the fear we may have of this, dying is a natural part of living. Yes it is sad, it can be horrible depending on how we might die, but instantaneously upon the moment it occurs, our lives are forever eternally changed. This is the one time we can and will be completely be separated from this world. But with that knowledge we have such wisdom to gain. That tells us that what happens here is temporal, and what happens here will greatly affect where we will go for all eternity. Some may ask, "Do you have a death wish? talking so boldly about death like it's nothing." The only wish I have is that at my death that I get to be with Jesus in Heaven for all eternity. For what other purpose of preparation do we have while we are here? We have an infinite amount of interactions in our lives, all of which can and could directly affect our eternal outcome.

Now do want to take a chance and risk all eternity for the pleasures of this world? That was a rhetorical question. I would hope that knowing the high stakes that are on the table that one wouldn't want to risk losing it all. "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death that is, the devil and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants." Hebrews 2:14-16. We are all Abraham's descendants. The power of death is gone, it no longer hangs over us keeping us a prisoner unto it. Look at what St. Lawrence Justinian said, "All must come to an end; and if when you die your soul is lost, all is lost for you 'Consider thyself as already dead,' knowing that thou must necessarily die' If you were already dead, what would you not desire to have done? now that you are alive, reflect that one day you must die." Wow, that was powerful; it's the knowledge that is the key to our lack of fearing death. And in this life with God's grace we have that knowledge.

Jesus paid the ultimate price for us, His love for us and our sins placed Him on a cross; a cross that would kill His earthly body for only three days. His death defeated all the horror that was waiting for us upon on our death. He took down the walls of death and transformed those walls into the path of eternity with Him in Heaven. By embracing death and understanding its true meaning, we can be like Jesus, and have no fear of what the world can do to us, because in the end we will be with Him. No one in this life has the power to take us from Him, unless we allow it. The people and things of this world only have the power to eternally destroy us, if we so chose to give them that power. When death comes to us, all is over, everything we were doing and planning ends. Our hearts and minds and souls need to be clean and pure before God. We have been blessed with a most special sacrament, a sacrament that we should embrace, for it is through confession that we are made clean before God, a cleansing we need in order to enter Heaven.

Lent is a special time of preparation for us, as we prepare for the Easter. Let's use this time to cleanse our souls, and get our lives in order and prepare for Jesus. I have found there is a really straight to the point way to fully understand death and with God's wisdom and love, you to can see what I am talking about. Have you ever been in a cemetery before? I would suppose for pretty much for everybody that's a yes. Well, that's the one place where you can't deny the ultimate effects of death; it is there that you see names of family members and friends written on stone tablets. It is there that I feel I can really talk to God sometimes. I know He's there ministering to His children. It is there that I realize that in this life what really matters. Is it the cars, the houses, the money, the lust, the pleasures. No, No, No, No, No.. It's the relationships that are solidified there. I remember my grandma's, my aunts and uncles, dear Friends I grew up with, a old neighbor I adopted as an uncle. It is there, that, what I do now, will end; and that I to will be here one day.

Today's Challenge: Reality Check. Go to the cemetery visit family and friends, pray for them while you are there, ask God to embrace them. Talk to them telling them how much you love them and you miss them. The sorrow and love you find in a cemetery hold much wisdom. Allow God to open your heart and understanding in your preparation for when it is your time. Death is a gateway, not a box.

Your brother in Christ Jesus & His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr OFS