08 May 2015
Life is Hard and God is Good
Anyone remember that verse of St. Paul's, which ends simply and beautifully, "to die is gain."
Sometimes I'm reminded just how true that is.
A few weeks ago I got to visit three of my bests, Caralyn, Laura, and Katie in New Orleans. We all lived in Auburn during college and now they live there and I live here alone without them, story of my life. Anyways, Sassy (Caralyn) is in charge of this really cool event called Night Fever. It's an event that happens all over the world on the same day, a few nights per year, where the doors of Churches in public areas (Cathedrals in Copenhagen, London, Chicago, etc.) are opened to the public for a few hours, and people are invited to come in and pray, light a candle, and sit with Jesus during Adoration.
I had the opportunity during Night Fever to sit at the front of the Cathedral and pray for those who were coming in. By the end of the night, there were so many candles lit that it was almost as bright as if the lights were on. I was so amazed at the different people who came in, some dressed for a wild night out in the French Quarter, others with their families... all stopping in to the Church to give a nod to their Creator and the Savior of the World. Based on the reactions that I saw, I was so in awe of the way that Christ made Himself known to them in that moment. I thought that most people would come in, light a candle, and leave without ever knowing that they'd come within feet of the Living God in the Eucharist. Some did that for sure, but so many others had an obvious and visible encounter with Jesus. All it takes for God to forgive a sinner and change a heart is one little glance toward Him, and I know that there were many people who saw God face to face that night... it was really cool to witness. It made me think of the many many many times that I've been face to face with Jesus but never really knew it was Him, or if I knew, I didn't acknowledge or experience Him in a real way. I received Jesus in the Eucharist for years before I knew it was Him, and these people, seemingly random to me but definitely chosen by Him, knew that something was different about that place and that Altar. The beauty of the Cathedral points in one direction, and that is to Jesus on the Altar. Praise God.
All that being said, I just sat there and prayed for people. When I lived in my little Catholic Bubble, I used to think that it was crazy that people would live their lives as though they owed nothing to anyone and could just do what they wanted without regard to others, to the poor, or even to the salvation of their very own souls. When I saw people coming in from all walks of life, all cultures, sexual orientations, backgrounds, languages, social classes, etc., I was just so convicted that life, any and every single one, is sacred. Also, I just spent time reflecting on just how difficult this life really is. I didn't know any one of the things these people prayed for... but I did know that every one of them had their own battles and their own Crosses that were a heavy burden which Christ wanted to carry for them. Even if they let Him take on that burden for one moment in time, it is all worth the effort of the Night Fever volunteers.
Last night one of my dad's cousins was killed in a car accident. She and her husband were on their way to pick up their daughter from college and the weather was bad and the car was crashed. I don't know many details except that her husband is in critical condition and she was killed in the wreck. As I've been thinking about her family and praying for her soul, I've been surprised that I'm not sad for her. I'm definitely sad for her family, losing a loved one is never easy, and especially when it is tragic and unexpected. But as for Elaine, I'm not sad. In fact, I feel happy for her. I was just leaving a friends house after a concert when I found out and I went directly to be with Jesus. I prayed for her soul, and I felt like I could tell that Jesus was happy to be reunited with her. People die too soon (or so we think) every day... but it's only those who are left behind that we should feel sad for, not the one who gets to return to their true home in the arms of Christ.
My grandmother is taking it particularly hard. I think its because she feels like she's ready to go, and Elaine was so young and could have had so much life ahead of her. But God is the Father of this family, and He decides who comes and goes and when. Life is hard and God is so good. He knows when we've had enough, even if it's difficult for others to understand.
Please pray for the holy souls in Purgatory and pray that my grandmother and God will be reconciled before it is too late.
St. Christopher, pray for us.