Amen at dying

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

It’s the way of things. Last year’s hollyhocks died, offering the seeds that sprouted new plants a few weeks back. Sometime soon, the caterpillars munching the maple leaves in my back yard will inter their pipe cleaner bodies and emerge with soft, furry wings. Each of us dies throughout our lives, going from one stage to the next – infant to toddler, child to adult. We let go of people when they die, and they will let go of us when it is our turn. There’s no other door to new life, death alone provides entry. It’s just so hard to go through, leaving everything behind for who knows what.

I accept this truth, and I make my peace with it every time death claims someone I love. In my soul I know that no one is lost to God, even when lost to me, but I mourn all of them. Every atom in this blessed universe is held fast, but not in the form I know and miss. One day it will be my form, this life I know and love, that I must give over to death. It’s hard to imagine when or how this will come, sitting on my sofa right now, typing these words. But the door of death will open, granting me passage into eternal life.

When my time comes, I hope I have the faith to greet it with peace. In that moment, I want to say amen: let it be. With so many people I love on the other side, with these words of saint Francis on my heart, in grateful thanks for those I leave behind, I’ll die to all I know and trust my eternity to the embrace of God.

Lord, Make me an instrument of Thy Peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

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