Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bp Hying: Befriend Sister Death to Live in Beauty of the Present

Gray Novembers make us think about the passing nature of life, the certainty of death and the hope of eternity. We begin the month with celebrations honoring the saints and praying for our loved ones who have gone before us. We prepare for the end of the liturgical year and the end of the Year of Faith.

In these shortening days of darkness, cold and barren trees, nature surrenders herself to the death of winter. Every November is a dress rehearsal for the end of our lives and the end of the world.

Many people seem almost obsessed with determining the precise timing of the world’s end. How often apocalyptic groups have gathered in some location, awaiting the demise of this planet with some combination of fear and hope? While we can easily dismiss such predictions as delusional, these folks have a fundamental point.

Our individual lives and the collective life of this world have an end point. Our time is limited, framed by the mystery of death and the end of all created things, at least as we know them to be now.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches “at the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign forever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed … Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, ‘new heavens and a new earth.’ It will be the definitive realization of God’s plan to bring under a single head “all things in Christ, things in heaven and on earth.” #1042-1043

I find this vision of the final consummation of human history to be remarkably exciting. It means that God – his Christ, Kingdom, love, forgiveness and mercy – wins in the end, defeating all powers of evil, sin and death forever. In his goodness, God allows each of us to make our small yet significant contribution to this fullness of the Kingdom.
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