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Fr. Bob Writes – November 10, 2013

“God has destined us for acquiring salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ . He died for us , that all of us, whether awake or asleep, together might live with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

Below is an excerpt from a book by Madeleine L’Engle called “Walking on Water”:

“The apple trees in the orchard are growing old. Last winter the beautiful green pie-apple tree died during the ice storms.This summer I notice that the leafing of some of the others is thin. A neighbouring farmer friend tells me that these trees have been “winter killed”…..I will never understand the silent dying of the green pie-apple if  I do not slow down and listen to what the Spirit is telling me, telling me of the death of trees, the death of planets, of people, and what all these deaths mean in the light of love of the Creator who brought them all into being; who brought me into being; and you .  The questioning of the meaning of being, and dying, and being, is behind the telling of stories around tribal fires at night; behind the drawing of animals on the walls of caves; the singing of melodies of love in spring, and of the death of green in autumn. It is part of the deepest longing of the human psyche, a recurrent ache in the hearts of all of God’s creatures”

The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes affirms that God “has planted an awareness of the eternal in our hearts” (3:11). Perhaps this accounts for the “recurrent ache” and “longing” that Madeleine L’Engle speaks about so eloquently above. Deep down we feel a sense of “wrongness” when we see people , things dying around us. Intimations of our own mortality make us feel very uncomfortable and we try to drown them out with constant activity . We feel somehow that these things “ought not to be “. And we are right. The writer of the book of Wisdom tells us that ‘God did not make death; he takes no pleasure in destroying the living” (2:13) . No, rather, God “created human beings to be immortal, he made them into the image of his own nature. Death came into the world only through the Devil’s envy” (2:23).

Jesus died and rose again to show us that our yearnings for immortality are not illusory. Death is not our final end. It gives way to the bright promise of an eternal home beyond this life where death will be no more, mourning and sadness and pain will have fled, for the world of these things, the world of the past, has gone for ever (see Revelation 21:4).

In this gloomy month of November, the month when death and dying is all around us, “with such thoughts as these, let us console one another ” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)