O MATTER WHO YOU ARE, life brings uncertainty. But as the saying goes, there are two things that are certain: death and taxes. There is also a third: the Cross. We all carry crosses, some unique that no one else will possibly understand. Yet we serve God and each other through the very crosses we carry. Here is what is certain: we will carry one cross or another until we die. This is not morbid, but rather a joyful reminder that through suffering, we serve God and each other all the days of our lives.
This week, a busy time during the Christmas Season, one may reflect upon events past and hope for the future. One week alone, no less an entire year, may bring a roller coaster of emotions. This has been such a week.
Christmas day brought the tragic news of the death of a family member, much too young and much too sudden. So my liturgical preparation has included not only my job, but now my family. My family lifts a heavy heart alongside an ever-increasing appreciation for the gift of life.
But blessings come and go. Crosses are plentiful. Uncertainty makes life scary. No one is immune from ultimate uncertainty. Yet, there is a certainty to be found in God: No matter who you are, rich or poor, lowly sinner or saint, these words are prayed (hopefully sung) in the funeral mass:
May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs come to welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem. May choirs of angels welcome you and lead you to the bosom of Abraham; and where Lazarus is poor no longer may you find eternal rest.
Be certain: God’s welcome is the same for everyone, especially for the lowly. I find this beautifully astounding every time I sing these words. In the funeral mass we pray for the deceased. Those of us on earth must continue to pray unceasingly. But like the father of the Prodigal Son, God welcomes the sinner, who like Lazarus, is no longer poor and finds eternal rest. Know that God, who is the Lover of Souls, is infinitely merciful.
HE MUNDANE CAN BRING redemption and lift the spirit. Composing often heals a heavy heart, as does the work of liturgical preparation, strangely enough. Although last minute, I hope the offering below may be of some service. As the Wise men looked East, they encountered uncertainty in their search for the Newborn King. They encountered uncertainty in a dream to avoid Herod and return another way. At the center of this uncertainty was faith in the certainty of God.