Sunday, October 19, 2008

Holy Saturday Time

I know it's not Triduum in the larger liturgical season, but I feel like I'm living in a Holy Saturday kind of time right now. I've been between worlds lately. After a valient struggle with cancer, my aunt Susie passed away last week. I wish I could make it to the funeral tomorrow, but distance and demands at work this week are making that trip unrealistic. Please pray for my uncle and cousins. A building contractor his whole life, my uncle has spent years building houses for other people, and over the last couple years he started building his own house, situated on my grandma's farm where he and Aunt Susie planned to spend their retirement years. The house now is just about finished, but the way things have played out, that dream is not to be, at least not the way he hoped it would be. Talk about a Good Friday heartbreak on so many levels.

At the same time, looking ahead to the Resurrection (or perhaps I'm totally jumping around the liturgical year to the celebration of the Incarnation), my sister and brother-in-law are expecting their first child any day now. We expected the little one by C-section last Thursday, but her little lungs weren't quite ready yet, so they are giving her another week or so to develop a bit more. I am so excited about this little girl's coming into the world. She will be my first niece, and when you aren't having kids of your own, nieces and nephews become even more wonderful! I have been praying for my sister and this baby for months, and now the time is almost here. I can't wait to meet her.

I wonder if God anticipates our coming home to heaven as much as we anticipate the birth of a new baby. Of course we don't want to be born into eternal life too early; some of us need a bit more time to develop our spiritual lives here on earth first. I would like to think God allows each of us as much time as we need. And while I can't believe God actually wills for us the terrible suffering of cancer, I do know that my God loved us enough to experience suffering with us in the crucifixion, and that he also experiences it, in us, with us even now. We are the Body of Christ. While I don't understand the whole mystery of why good people suffer, I do trust that the answer is in the Paschal Mystery, that in Christ's dying and rising to new life, our deaths, our pain, our losses are also transformed into something new, and good, and beautiful. Life is worth living, even if it involves pain, because woven into the same fabric are incredible joys and fantastic beauty- the mystery of love that takes us through pain and death to life.

And so with all the hushed excitement of Easter Vigil, I await the birth of this as yet unnamed niece, with all the prayers and good wishes I can muster for her: may she know joy; may she know love; may she know her gifts, and be a blessing to her family and to the world. May she be a holy child, know God, and bring others to God. May she be good, and true, and beautiful. As Christians, we are an Easter people: in every day, in every pain, in every graced moment, new life beckons us forth.

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