Tuesday, November 07, 2006

This weekend I became a younger member of the older generation. I lost the first of my mother's siblings, my uncle. While my parents are still with me, now it appears that age and infirmity are catching up to my relatives.
The feeling that people so familiar with you and all of the activities of your life are starting to return to God is unnerving. Most importantly however, the feeling however unnerving is also reassuring. Catholics profess weekly their belief in the resurrection of the dead...and the life of the world to come. That is a powerful reminder of our faith in Christ and his victory over death.
We are a Catholic people in transit. Namely on our way to meeting God in our temporal death. The journey of faith most clearly brings to mind the entire communion of saints, past present and future. We share same mystical union with Christ and His Passion through our death in the Sacrament of Baptism. We also share eternal life through Baptism and the Eucharist. It is a participation in the "kairos" or sacred times through which we are called in our human imperfection to participate in the perfection of God's life.
We should celebrate life and death. It is the progressive transformation for the Catholic believer. Faith in Christ Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all things. Perhaps my thoughts are drawn towards the Jesuit, priest and paleontologist Teilhard De Chardin who so clearly expressed his understanding of "all things" ending in Christ the Omega point. It is clearly in this Omega point we explore the infinite mysteries of eternal life.
The Eucharistic Liturgy in the eucharistic prayer clearly states that, "life is transformed, not ended". It is precisely in this transformation that I would like to remember all of my relatives and friends that have returned to the Father. The transformation is a new journey, a new life and a new manner of the manifestation of the power of God's Spirit. We are people of "new life". While the temporal loss of a loved one is something we quite don't understand; it is something natural.
In November we recall the celebration of All Saints and All Souls. Both of these feast days mark steps upon the eschatological journey we call , life in Christ Jesus. How magnificent both of these celebrations really are. The People of God are remembered in whatever step of the journey they are at in the cosmological order. Our faith permits us to celebrate in two days the beliefs of all peoples , past , present and future. This is truly a celebration of the Eucharistic mystery alive among us.
As believers in eternal life...death indeed transforms life into a new and unknown experience. Our faith in Christ, our love of the Sacraments and our human appreciation of the Divine motivates all of us to pray for everyone that has died in Christ Jesus.
My thoughts are uniquely with my uncle. In life, he was...larger than life. A unique blend of bravado, the embodiment of Semper Fi and true appreciation of the expressions of life.
As we gather to celebrate his death, we need to remember to celebrate his OLD life and his new life. While the individual we have known and laughted with might be gone, that he joins a larger theological body that is joined by faith, resurrection and eternal life. As faithful pilgrims on a theological journey...we cannot ask for a better group of travel companions.