Our Heavenly Birthday

 

heavenly birthday
Art source unknown

 

For a Christian to be afraid of death would be like being afraid of a ghost. Death no longer has any power over us. It has lost its sting. “Death has been swallowed up in victory, ” Paul writes (1 Cor 15:54). Ever since we have eaten the food of immortality that is Jesus himself (Jn 6:51, 54), we are irrevocably on the side of the living. True, all Christians must go through the physical process called “death” when “this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Cor 15:53)? “I do not die; I enter into life,” Thérèse of the Child Jesus said on her deathbed.

It is important not to forget the early Christian way of speaking about death. The date of death of the saints has always been called dies natalis, their birthday, by the Church.
To die is to be born into eternal life. When Jesus, just before his death, shares his farewell discourses with the disciples, he says: “I am going to the Father” (Jn 16:10); “If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father” (14:28). John also writes that Jesus knew “that he had come from God and was going to God” (13:3). To be born is to come from God; to die is to return to God. When we die, our true life begins.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

“The essential is always hidden from our eyes . . . and that lends still more ardor to the quest and sustains our advance toward the only reality.”
~ Brother Roger of Taizé

 

 

Knowing What Awaits Us

 

In-his-glory-original-24-x-24
In His Glory, art by YongSung Kim

 

As long as we live here on earth, it often feels as if we are separated from him. Obviously, we aren’t, but because we are so dependent on what we can see and hear, it is difficult to believe fully in an invisible reality.

In our own days, it is often heard that we don’t know what happens after death; nobody has ever come back so you can never be sure. That it is even said among Christians is perplexing. The central truth in our faith is exactly that someone has come back, and that the Risen One has appeared to many. He has been seen, spoken to, eaten with.

We know very well what happens after death. When we die, we meet him who is love itself, we receive a body that is like the body of glory that he has (Phil 3:21), free from all limitations, a body that is no longer bound in time and space. We get to be with Christ, be together with him in the Father.

We can’t imagine the security, peace, and joy involved in being forever with the Lord. It transcends our comprehension. It is “what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1Cor 2:9). But the fact that we can’t imagine it exactly doesn’t mean that it isn’t real.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.