Visitors - Come on in and say hello!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Significance

Our days are as dust. Our lives...not even a blink of God's eye before they are gone. We are nothing before eternity.

And yet, God calls us into being, out of eternity, and holds us in existance. He gives us definition, He calls us to our Mission, and seeks to draw us to Him, into Him, into a depth of being we can't even fathom and few even consider to plumb.

Sea Pacific

Several years ago, when I lived in Mexico, I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Darkness had fallen by the time we made it to the beach, where we removed our shoes and waded into the waves we could barely discern. The faint light of the nearby town didn't touch the vast expanse of beach we had crossed, so I believe the only reason we could see the white foam of the waves as the lapped against the land was due to the light reflected from the stars.

It was as though I stood on the edge of a precipice. The land ended, and before me was an endless void, the last point of earth being the lighthouse far away, signaling to any passing ships.

We couldn't see anything but darkness; we couldn't even see where the ocean met the sky. We only knew where we ended and the ocean began. I can still hear the crashing of the waves when I remember that night.

I've never felt so small and finite as when I stood there on the edge of the ancient ocean. And even though I knew that fathoms away we would find Australia, it was an act of faith to believe it, for the depths of the darkness seemed to swallow up everything and threatened to swallow us, too.

I'll never forget it, and I'll never stop being grateful for the lesson. When I want to remember who I am in relation to God, that was it: "Adoro Meet God 101".

Pilgrims

Often, I've written of this pilgrimage that is our life on earth, and just yesterday I posted the "Letter to Diognetus" that addressed this very thing. We are citizens of Heaven, but for now, bound to the earth. We are to bring the Kingdom of God everywhere we go, and live as these citizens, holding a high moral standard. From the very beginning, as Christians, we have stood out, acting responsibly in our civic duties, but remaining aloof from the winds of change, buffeted about, but refusing to give in to decadent cultures that have come and gone in the last 2,000 years. We have inherited a great treasure, but one that much of the world has chosen to dismiss, preferring shiny baubles that have or will turn to dust, for immediate gratification seems much more rewarding than living a life of discipline and holiness.

I'll confess that sometimes, I wonder why I'm here, and why God chose me from eternity. I remember my teenage years, where my broken family struggled so much. When we first moved to Minnesota after our parent's divorce, my brother and I both faced interior battles. Mine, typical of young women, was turned inward as I contemplated taking my own life, and my brother, typical of young men, turned his anger outward. I only recently learned of the workings of his mind and I pray he never learn those of mine; for I had truly wanted to die. It was a true miracle that kept me from performing the act on the very night I had chosen.

Celebrating Life and Death

Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of All Saints, and on Sunday, the Feast of All Souls, so it is natural to take this time to contemplate death. It is natural to mourn those who have gone before us and our own mortality as well. It would do us well to, if we can, stand at the edge of the ocean and realize how finite is our being, how temporary our existance...and how eternal are our souls.

So it is natural that tonight, on this Vigil, I have been thinking about life and death and wondering about my own worth in this world. I know I am called to something; were I not, I would not be present. I know that the people I meet every day are called into being and loved dearly by God; were they not, they would not exist.

Yet, I have come full circle in some ways. On one hand, in looking back upon my life, I am excited by what God has done, and on the other hand, I'm just tired of constantly searching. In some ways, I think that if I were informed I had a terminal illness, I'd celebrate the news, knowing that soon I'd be at the end of this pilgrimage.

The earth is not my home; I've seen enough of it and I've done enough to realize that there is nothing here for me. So many fantasy stories speak of people who are or become immortal; all I can think is that these stories must have been written by atheists. The idea of mortal immortality is akin to Hell; for this was the very reason God our Father banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Have you recently read Genesis? If not, look it over; God banished them so that they would not eat of the Tree of Life, for had they done so, they could not have been redeemed. They would have lived forever in their fallen state!

So it is that on nights like this I both lament and praise my mortality. On one hand, I am happy to be alive, for life is such a gift, but on the other hand, each day of life is another day outside of God. Another day to sin. Another day of struggle. The battle becomes so tiresome, especially when I realize my weakness and inability to overcome it.

I thank God for my life, and the lives of those of all I know, and all those I have yet to meet. And I thank God for sending His only Son to redeem us, and I thank God for the ability to participate in that redemption. To give our "fiat". To bring others to Him. And for the strength to go on as long as necessary, for every day is a testament to God's Glory. Every breath comes from Him. Every heartbeat is shared blood.

No longer do I see death as I did as a teenager; now I see it for what it is, and I both welcome and dread it. For death is violent by nature, but leads to the eternal embrace of God IF we are prepared; and the road that leads to God is a life well-lived. A life that is not about us, but about others, but only lived well in relation to the Cross.

We can't avoid the violence of death just as we can't avoid the violence of life. They go together, and ONLY make sense when we can see how the suffering of Christ united them both and gave meaning to our suffering.

Clearly, tonight I am in a melancholy mood as I wonder about why I am on this earth and what contribution I could possibly have. It is a temptation to me to fall into the despair of my teenage years and think that my life is worth nothing, and that this dust that makes up my physical being should be dispersed. Were it not for the miracle that stayed my hand so long ago, perhaps my thoughts would go there again.

My temptation; the value of my life?

My greatest temptation, truly, is to consider myself through worldly terms; but to consider myself according to God raises the scale and removes it from my jurisdiction. To do so makes me consider others and the value of their lives. We can ONLY know ourselves through knowing others...we can only know God through knowing ourselves. The judgment is objective, outside of us. And who would condemn one's neighbor, or one's friend, when one knows the mercy of God?

Every life has meaning. Every single one. Born...or unborn. Every single life.

Each of us has significance, even if we don't believe it. God loves us.

God loves YOU. If you are reading this, He has brought YOU into this world and holds you in existance because, when His Son died upon the Cross, He decided YOU were worth it. Believe it. Embrace it. And love Him that much more.

God bless you all.
*

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Adoro -- remember that you are loved. And not only by God, though obviously He's the big one. :)

I tramped around cemeteries and went to Confession and Mass and did penitent stuff today, which actually seems to have brought me a lot of peace. And tiredness. :)