Monday, November 3, 2014

In God's hands

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
November 2, 2014

John 6:37-40

People today don't know what to do with death. Sometimes, the only thing that occurs to us is to ignore it and not talk about it. Forget this sad event as soon as possible, complete the necessary civil and religious formalities and go back to our daily lives.

But sooner or later, death visits our homes, snatching away our most beloved beings. How do we react then towards that death that robs us of our mother forever? What attitude do we adopt towards the beloved husband who says his last goodbye? What do we do before the void that so many friends leave in our lives?

Death is a door that each person passes through alone. Once the door is closed, the deceased is hidden from us forever. We don't know what has happened to him. This very close and beloved being is now lost in the unfathomable mystery of God. How do we relate to him?

We followers of Jesus don't just passively witness the fact of death. Trusting in the Risen Christ, we accompany it with love and with our prayer in this mysterious encounter with God. In the Christian liturgy for the dead, there's no desolation, rebellion, or despair. At its core, there is only a prayer of trust: "Into Your hands, Father of mercy, we entrust the life of our loved one."

What meaning can those funerals in which people with different sensibilities towards the mystery of death gather, have among us today? What can we do together -- believers, the somewhat less believing, those of little faith, and nonbelievers too?

Over the years, we have changed a lot inside. We've become more critical, but also more fragile and vulnerable; we're more skeptical, but also more insecure. It isn't easy for us to believe, but not believing is hard. We're full of doubt and uncertainty, but we don't know how to find hope.

Sometimes, I like to invite those who are attending a funeral to do something we can all do, each from their little faith. Say a few words inside ourselves to our loved one that express our love for him and our humble invocation to God:

"We still love you, but we no longer know where to meet you or what to do for you. Our faith is weak and we don't know how to pray well. But we entrust you to God's love; we leave you in His hands. God's love is for you today a place more secure than anything we can offer you. Enjoy the full life. God loves you as we didn't know how to love you. Someday we'll see each other again."

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