Friday, November 6, 2020

Thoughts on wisdom and death


Wisdom and Death

A comedian once commented, "I'm not afraid of dying; I just don't want to be there when it happens." Natural disasters and the covid pandemic have brought our mortality, our inescapable future death, more into our focus and attention. In Sunday's Gospel Jesus teaches us with the story of the wise and foolish virgins who are waiting to welcome the bridegroom to his wedding party. The wise women brought extra oil for their lamps in case the bridegroom was delayed which he was and they were ready to greet him with lamps shining brightly.

I used to be vaguely afraid of dying. After all, it's a huge unknown and you probably won't know when it's going to happen. Over the years I came to realize that I wasn't afraid of death, I was afraid of God, of being seen and judged by Him. His gift of faith-filled wisdom taught me that I am God's beloved child and He constantly looks on me with infinite compassion and love and wants more for me than I could ever hope for or imagine. I am a sinner and will die a sinner but God forgives and forgets them all.

One of Ignatius' favorite prayers was the Soul of Christ. It ends with "In the hour of my death, call me. And bid me come to Thee, that with Thy saints I may praise Thee forever and ever. Amen." Now I prayerfully imagine my death as Jesus appearing to me and saying "Come on, Ralph, let's go home."

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

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