Summertime, and the living is easy.
Fish are jumping and the cotton is high,
Oh, your daddy's rich and your ma is good-lookin’
So hush little baby, Don't you cry…”
(Hayward & Gershwin)
We need a balance in the use of time. Pope Francis reminds us God worked for six days creating the world, and on the seventh day he rested. Millions do not enjoy this right to time off, but are slaves to work and money. That is against God’s law and the dignity of the human person.
If we use the gift of time to be in touch with God and creation’s plan, we will enjoy a profound and fulfilling life. We will benefit from listening to God and enjoying his graces.
The greatest joy and fulfilment in life can be ours if we live our lives against an infinite horizon. The sorrows caused by death’s separations will melt into the consolation of Christ’s Resurrection.
Let us look at the challenging example of lovers separated by death. We have a natural tendency to separate ourselves from loved ones who have gone ahead of us to the eternal. It is too painful to accept this on a natural plain. In a sense that separation is not a complete separation.
Emily Bronte says of death’s separation: “I am seldom otherwise than happy while watching in the chamber of death... . I see a repose that neither earth nor hell can break, and I feel an assurance of the endless and shadowless hereafter--the Eternity they have entered--where life is boundless in its duration, and love in its sympathy, and joy in its fulness.” (from Wuthering Heights)
When Jesus left the disciples at the Ascension he was not separated from them. His Spirit came and remained with them. They remained united in his very Spirit and life.
A lover or a family member born to eternal life is still part of a family on earth. Praying for that member takes on a new dimension. We can now pray for them to intercede for us in our needs.
In the Communion of Saints we pray for our brothers and sisters living on earth; we pray for deceased members who might still need to be perfected before enjoying the presence of God, and we pray to our loved ones who have joined the Saints and are in a position where they can help us.
So in a real sense we are not separated from those who have died. My parents and siblings born to eternal life are still part of our family - a privileged part, granted. In a real sense I do not feel separated from them but closer to them than when they were with me on earth.
There was little change in my prayer list when my sister died this summer. I pray for her and to her now, as her need might be. I am grateful to her for her prayers when she was with us - she prayed for my writing ministry as I prayed for her needs.
Part of this is mystery. We are in time and touching the eternal. “The present is the point at which time touches eternity,” C.S. Lewis said.
God’s love is incarnate in Christ. This love will continue in us, and through us it will continue in those we love. That is the eternal dimension of love.
“Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.” Dylan Thomas