An acquaintance of mine died last week.
I said a prayer for her when I heard the news, and then I whispered, “Pat, rest in peace. You have finished your work, completed your journey.”
I think about that journey a lot. My friend didn’t make it to the three score and ten mentioned in the Bible. We just never know.
There is something uniquely precious about living in our imperfect world. It is only an instant in even the longest of lives. What are a 100 years compared to eternity? Yet, we have only this breath, this heartbeat of time in which to determine our eternal destination, and to labor for God’s Glory.
I, who do not relish suffering, still value it and this amazing moment in my existence when it actually costs me to offer something precious to God.
It is quite thrilling to be among the Church Militant, marching through the battlefield of life, buffeted by the blows of pain, loneliness, rejection, grief and a thousand other sufferings which we encounter on our journey.
I think how tenderly Jesus watches over us as we bear our wounds for love of Him. His eyes never leave us and His Heart almost breaks with compassion. Yet, when we are brave, and offer up as best we can these trials, surely He is so pleased, so very proud of us.
We cannot see, but Jesus Himself binds up our wounds with the balm of His Love, measures to perfection all that we are asked to bear, and supports us Himself that we may not be crushed beneath our crosses.
Heaven is our true home, but I find myself pondering how bittersweet it will be to leave this place of exile: Never again to be able to make an act of faith when all seems lost, to tell God we love Him through tears and sorrow, to endure the battle of temptation and be victorious with His Grace, to do violence to our own will so that we may choose for God, to walk amidst a hurting and confused world and try to be a ray of His Light, to visit a lonely Jesus in His Sacrament of Love and console His Hidden Presence.
These many treasures are ours for only a moment, and yet I waste an abundance of riches, and neglect the joy I could give to God by seizing every opportunity to cooperate with His Grace.
One day it will all end, and suffering will be no more. I’m sure much of my Purgatory will be spent in weeping tears for all the times I walked away from the graces God extended to me – times I insisted on my own way, or complained about something trivial or was annoyed with someone else.
Lord, help me to begin again today to be ingenious in finding the jewels you have hidden in every moment of my life. Those I choose are mine for all eternity.
But much more important: You have chosen to be glorified by the sacrifices lovingly made and offered by your children.
Oh Jesus, help me not to waste the moment this life on earth is, the only moment I will ever have to choose You above all the other distractions and temptations of my world.
In one of Therese’s favorite books, The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life, by Father Charles Arminjon, in the chapter on Heaven we read:
And the grateful God cries out, “Now it is My turn!”
He is so eager to reward us. Indeed the lives of the great mystics indicate that He can hardly restrain His Love, as He pours out upon His holy ones a foretaste of Heavenly bliss.
On our last day, if we had never been able to suffer anything in life, would we really be able to endure Infinite Love pouring into us from His pierced Heart, and the embrace of His crucified hands?