Saturday, November 29, 2014
Come, Lord Jesus
The Desk Columnist of the Catholic Times recalls a class in the humanities where they were asked what five things would they do if they knew death would come the following day. She mentions up until that time she had no experience of death in her family, relatives or acquaintances. She only knew death from movies, books and talk, but no direct contact with death.
She doesn't remember what she said when her turn came but it must have been fragmented, romantic like preparations. She had her own experience of death shortly after with the death of her mother. It came suddenly. She had been a journalist for the Catholic Times for a year when her mother died. She had no health problems, she was in a sleep from which she did not awake: a tremendous shock.
Both her parents where baptized shortly before, she believes it was to help her along in her new work. They probably thought that that being Catholic would help her get points in the work place.
After the mother's death she would open her prayer book and often pray for the dead. She cried much but she also had the hope of the resurrection, and the belief that she would meet them again which was a great consolation. She believed in the communion of saints which words she often saw in her prayers which gave her great strength. Death for a Christian, sad as it is, also brings hope to the person who is bereaving.
Elisabeth Kubler Ross (1926-2004) a psychiatrist, was the one who made a study of death and dying and gave us the five steps that are often experienced by the dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. A priest working in Japan who has made death his own area of study, Fr.Alfons Deeken, a Jesuit internationally known in the field of education about death has added another step: a happy death-- the mental state of desire and hope.
Hope not for a return to health but hope for eternal life and the meeting of those they loved.
We are coming to the end of the month dedicated to the souls in purgatory, and the beginning of the liturgical new year with a new feeling in our hearts. We begin the new again with expectations and hope.
Reflection is in order with our hand on our breasts to determine if we have made the preparations that are necessary for the new year. During the first day of the new year we pray: "Come O Lord Jesus". The word "advent" means "coming", a coming that is here already and one that is not yet.
We probably tend to forget that the happiness, if we listen to what Jesus came to teach us and do it, should begin here in the now, and continue for all eternity.When we sing: "Come Lord Jesus" we are asking him to come to us now, if we are ready and prepared to meet him now, we are also prepared to me him at our death and at the end of time.