On Death and Dying Differently

Jesus uppväcker Lazarus, målning av Karl Isaks...

Lazarus, alive and well.

Judas Hangs Himself

Judas hung himself.

Did you ever stop to think about just how many friends Jesus had while He was here on earth? He probably had a lot. Crowds followed Him, He had enough disciples that the religious authorities considered Him a threat, there were no doubt childhood friends and playmates, probably other friends that did business with Him as a carpenter, and in the end it wasn’t everyone who turned against Him. Remember those women who followed Him on the Via Dolorosa, crying after Him? So He had friends. But have you ever counted up just how many folks in the New Testament are referred to directly as His friends? It makes for an interesting study. There were only two ..

John 11:11

11 These things he said; and after that he said to them: Lazarus our friend sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.

Matthew 26:50And Jesus said to him: Friend, whereto art thou come? Then they came up, and laid hands on Jesus, and held him.

When God created humanity He intended for us to live with Him forever. We weren’t made to die, no one was, it wasn’t a part of our original nature. Death is the result of the Fall, the penalty of Original Sin passed down as a human and not Divine inheritance. Now everyone dies. One way or another. And “one way or another” brings us back to the friends of Jesus …

Lazarus died. His death provides us with a good example, or I should say a beautiful type of metaphor or allegory. As one of God’s faithful he died in this life, he died to self, he died to this life, and the result was that he lived.

Judas died. He provides another example. As someone who could’ve been one of God’s faithful but refused he lived this life, he lived for this life, he lived for self, and the result was that he died.

They were both friends of Jesus. Jesus Himself called them His friends. Both were loved by Him, both were cared for by Him. Both were created by Him. Both lived, both died. One got the sequence right, the other got it wrong. The first died and then lived. The other lived and then died.

God doesn’t see things the way we do. Having sight, real sight, means learning to see. Not the seeing that we’re taught from birth by the world. But the sight we’re taught from re-birth by God. When we see things His way we’ll not only get the sequence right, we’ll understand it also. At least in part. We don’t need to know it all. We can’t know it all anyway, only He can do that. But we can know and see and understand enough, by His grace, that we’ll willingly die to earthly life so that we can live the Heavenly life, rather than live for this earthly life and so die to a Heavenly afterlife.

Death and dying come to all. Death and dying aren’t the point. The point is to do this, death and dying, differently. “Differently” being His sequence and not ours.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9.

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“Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” … Thursday, April 18

English: The Embrace of Elizabeth and the Virg...

The Visitation.

A Rosary Meditation … The Second Joyful Mystery, the Visitation. “He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has  sent away empty.” Luke 1:53. Mary and Elizabeth both understood and accepted their poverty before God and lived accordingly. It was because of their recognition of their poverty and the response they made, humility rather than pride, that they were so blessed by God. The “rich” are those self-sufficient people who are good enough without God’s help and proud of it. Without any need of His grace because the rich have no need. Perhaps they expect God to be proud of them. The strong are able and do what needs to be done on their own. The weak ask for help, they ask for faith and grace and mercy. And they get it. The rich get what they have coming also. One person is filled with good things, the other goes away empty, filled with nothing but self. Elizabeth was filled with God’s Spirit when visited by the Mother of God. Mary was filled with Christ when she visited her cousin. All of us who admit our poverty honestly are visited. “Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. The rich are visited as well. We know this because it says plainly “any man” so no one is excluded by God, but some, being so caught up in self-sufficiency that they lack ears to hear, exclude themselves, and never hear the knock.

Today … St. Agia was a Benedictine and wife of St. Hiduiphus of Hainault, also called Aye or Austregildis. She entered the nunnery at Mons when St. Hidulphus became a monk.Two married people entering into religious life, agreeing to do this, by mutual consent. I wonder if they heard two knocks or just one? Well, they answered the knock and that’s what’s important. When they heard the knock I’ll bet, being married and all, that they were busy doing something. I wonder how many times we miss a visitation just because we don’t take the time to put down what we’re doing and answer the door?

Of course there’s this …

11

And Peter coming to himself, said: Now I know in very deed that the
Lord hath sent his angel and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod
and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

12
And considering, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John,
who was surnamed Mark, where many were gathered together and praying.

13
And when he knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, whose name was Rhode.

14
And as soon as she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for
joy: but running in she told that Peter stood before the gate.” Acts 12:11-14.

Sometimes when we have a visitor we just get all excited and get caught up in the moment. 😉

Published in: on April 18, 2013 at 3:56 am  Comments Off on “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” … Thursday, April 18  
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