Wednesday, July 5, 2017

to die is gain

St Ignatius of Antioch tells us like it is today in A Year with the Church Fathers. He is on his way to be martyred, and he tells his friends not to try to save him from it.

Sounds odd, doesn't it? But when we really, REALLY take our faith seriously, we start to realize that Paul's words in Philippians 1:21 are really true: "To live is Christ, and to die is gain." We understand what Paul means when he tells us not to weep and mourn like those who have no hope when someone we love passes away.

When we really take our faith seriously, we begin to understand (a little bit) many of the things that Therese of Liseux said. Like when she told her mother that she hoped that her mother would die soon. When her mom (naturally) was dismayed, Therese explained that she was simply excited that her mother would be able to enjoy the reward of heaven.

Therese died at a very early age - she was only 24 when she passed away. And she looked forward to the day that she would leave the pain and cares of earth and be joined to her Beloved. Even though she said she would spend her eternity doing good on earth, she was doing it from her beatified state in heaven.

This very much puts our lives into perspective, doesn't it? We live in an uncertain time. North Korea threatens to shoot us with ICBM's. ISIS takes responsibility for shootings and other forms of killing on a weekly basis. We don't have tomorrow promised to us. But what we DO have is our blessed hope of eternity.

Life is short. Eternity is forever. Let's make decisions that reflect that fact.

God, thank You for giving us perspective. Help us to live our lives so that we have no regrets when we meet You face to face.

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