Many people look on death with dread, as the sad ending of it all. With Christian faith we look on it very differently, as our final journey home to eternal life with God. Our Lord has told us that he has gone ahead to prepare a room for us in the Father’s house (cf. John 14: 2-3). This is what awaits us if we live and die well. In this meditation we consider:
The Christian meaning of life and death
The many passages of the Bible that speak to us of our preparation for eternal life with God
The need to be prepared at every moment to meet Our Lord
The importance of storing up treasure in heaven, not on earth
Life can be like a jigsaw puzzle. With each of our actions we put another piece in place and at the end of our life we will see the finished picture, the beautiful work of art God intended for us or the discordant one we have made by our failings. In this meditation we consider:
Living our life well is creating a true work of art, practising the art of holiness.
God has a plan for each moment of our life and doing what he wants is putting one more piece of the puzzle in its proper place.
While each action can seem unimportant in itself, it is very important in the overall picture of our life.
If we make a wrong choice, the finished picture will lack the harmony and beauty God wants for us.
The dark pieces – sickness, hardship, setbacks – are part of the beauty of God’s design for us.
Only at the end of our life will we see the finished picture we have made by our daily actions.
On 13 May 2017 the Church celebrated the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady to three young children in Fatima, Portugal. In those apparitions Our Lady gave the world important messages, which are as relevant today as they were in 1917. In this meditation we consider some of these messages in order to see how we can put them into practice in our own lives:
Our Mother Mary is mother of God, through her giving birth to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
As he came to the end of his life on the cross, Jesus entrusted St John, and all of us, into the care of his Mother Mary. Our Lady looks after us and is truly our Mother. In this meditation we consider how:
In giving birth to Jesus in Bethlehem Mary became the mother of the whole Mystical Body of the Church
At Calvary Mary suffered unspeakably with Jesus for all mankind and this moves her to love us all the more
Mary draws sinners to Jesus
Mary exercises her motherly role with the apostles and with all of us
Mary intercedes for us before Jesus as “supplicating omnipotence”
We should take Mary into our own keeping, as St John did, through the various Marian prayers and customs, especially the rosary
Jesus walked with two disciples on the Road to Emmaus. The latter did not recognise him until later when he sat with them and broke bread.
On the first Easter Sunday, two disciples left Jerusalem discouraged because the one they hoped would redeem Israel had died. On their way to Emmaus, Jesus walked beside them and explained the Scriptures to them. These two in some way represent all of us. We too have our times of trial, of worry, of discouragement, and Jesus seeks us out, even though we do not recognise him. In this meditation we consider how:
We all have our crosses, our difficulties in life, which can make us discouraged or worried
Jesus does not leave us alone but seeks us out and walks beside us
We find Jesus in our prayer and in others who are there to help us
We too can be there for others who are going through difficult times
Jesus enters Jerusalem and is well received, a feast we celebrate on Palm Sunday–the start of Holy Week.
In Holy Week we follow Christ from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through his institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood on Holy Thursday, to his passion and death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. If we follow him closely throughout our life we will not abandon him as did the apostles and we will rise to eternal life with him when we die. In this meditation we consider how we should:
acknowledge our weakness and our possibility of denying Our Lord as did Peter
attend Mass often and receive Holy Communion well in order to strengthen our love for Jesus
stay awake in our prayer in order to draw ever closer to Christ
follow Christ closely, not at a distance, avoiding lukewarmness
avoid attachment to creature comforts and things in order to have our heart free to love God
take up our cross daily and follow our Lord in his passion
follow Christ closely throughout our life in order to rise with him to eternal life