Tuesday, April 17, 2007

We always have to be ready

Yesterday was an extraordinary day in the United States. Watching the news coverage of the overwhelmingly tragic events at Virginia Tech evoked emotions that ranged from profound sadness to shock, anger and curiosity. It was one of those days when prayer was the only times I could find any comfort or peace, whether privately or with others. To all of the families of the victims, the students, faculty, alumni, and to the entire Virginia Tech family, I offer my heartfelt condolences and sympathy on behalf of the entire St. Andrew’s community.

In the Fall, we had a discussion at Youth Group about salvation. We talked about salvation in terms of getting to Heaven, and that Christ is our salvation. A big point we made was that we always need to be ready to go to Heaven. This means to be in close friendship with Christ at all times, because we never know when our time on Earth will come to an end. This point was made abundantly clear with the events at Virginia Tech yesterday.

Especially in a world where evil is all around us, we always need to be ready to go to Heaven. I remember years ago watching television with my good friend, Fr. Wells. We were watching the news when the story of a local policeman being murdered came on. A moment or so later, Fr. Wells said quietly but firmly, ‘I hope he (the policeman) went to Church on Sunday’. It was not said in any kind of a judgmental or critical way; it was said in a hopeful and caring way. The point was that, no matter how the deaths of our bodies come about, our souls should be in a state that is ready to see God face to face.

My hope, then, is that all those who died at Virginia Tech yesterday were ready to go to Heaven. Of course, it was extremely unfair that their lives ended so early and abruptly by the awful, evil, and vicious acts of a psychotic coward. In no way did God actively will their deaths. But, for some mysterious reason (the same reason that He allows all evil), He allowed the deranged gunman to kill them. We know we live in a world where, on a daily basis, people reject Love and choose hate, often in the form of murder. I know that today I might be the victim of violence, so I will prepare myself accordingly. I will not live in fear; rather, I will live in faith. Living with faith overcomes all fear, even the fear of death.

As Catholics, we realize that “our citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil 3). We live on this Earth knowing that the main reason we are here is to get to Heaven. We are not living for this world only- we are living in this world with our eyes on Heaven. This means living for God and for others (i.e., holiness). If we live this way, then we will be ready to go when the time comes. If we are not living this way, Christ calls us to change our lives. He doesn’t want any of us to live in fear, and certainly wants none of us to be apart from him for all eternity.

As I told the teens in the Fall, we never know when the time will come. It could happen stepping out of your car and getting hit by a metrobus. It could happen walking the dog in a snowstorm and a tree falls on you. It could happen taking notes during class. We never know, so we always have to be ready.


At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've often wondered abouth what Catholic church believes about people of other faiths going to heaven. There are so many really good people in the world who do amazing deeds (think back to so many heroic men who gave their lives on 9/11 to save others. Many good people are not Catholic and do not believe in Christ as their saviour. What happens to those souls?

At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

As names and details are floating out of Tech and Blacksburg... all of this is just senseless. I hope people remeber to pray for the shooter as well, he too was a victim, if only of himself.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Micky said...

bout 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staffs were very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we each have our own prisons in life, whether they be bars, locked doors, or the walls we build around ourselves out of some sense of self-preservation. Today, Fr. Mike's homily addressed the fear we have in our lives and how Christ calls us to trust in His light to operate outside of our fears of worldy things. The gospel reading was about the Apostles being freed from jail with no concern for why/how they were being set free (no fear of wordly things), but with the acceptance that they were free and continued to preach (trusting in God's light). For me, to act from faith, not fear, is a big call. I cannot begin to imagine how mental illness would intefere with that call, but the fact that you moved forward is, indeed, inspiring.

At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The VA Tech tragedy is horrible. I have prayed for the community, the souls of the victims, and yes, the killer and his family. It is important to remember that the news media will saturate our minds with every evil, sad, disturbing, horrible detail. As Father Greg observed, this horrific taking of life is a reminder to be prepared.

Personally, I do not read the papers and watch the news beyond the initial facts of the situation. Letting one self watch every detail pour out of the t.v. is definately not a productive use of our time. Many of my friends and family members are just destroyed over this tragedy. Yes, they all watch the news, listen to the news, and read about it(too much). Remember Satan's greatest tool is discouragement. As Christians, we are all called to pray for those who died, their families, the community.

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Kat said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

In unrelated news the supreame court upheld the ban on Partial birth Abortions. Decision was released a little bit ago.

(one of these days I am going to remember to not sign in.)


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