As I was getting ready to make my final vows in the Spiritan Community I was expected to make a “memory card”, a card not unlike the ones made for funerals! But it is meant to mark a special occasion, and for the front of the card I chose a quote from Dag Hammarskjold: “For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.”
I chose it because I believe it speaks of a profound gratitude to God for all that has been in life and of an openness towards God and towards whatever lies ahead in life and in death.
November is traditionally a time in which we remember the dead. In parts of Latin America and in other parts of the world, many of the people set up little home altars on which they place photos and mementos of their loved ones who have died and gone ahead of them to that which we call the afterlife: heaven. We do not know what lies ahead, but yet, we are part of it -- promised resurrection through our Baptism.
As we careen towards the end of the liturgical year our readings turn toward “the last things.” This is not meant to cause us fear or make us gloomy or sad; on the contrary, it is meant to offer us an opportunity to reflect on the transitory reality of this life in the context of the amazing gift of the promise of eternal life.
While none of us really know what it will be like --the speculation has made for good reading over the centuries -- some theologians today talk of it as something analogous to a glorious and knowable uniting…a joining with God in a new and spectacular way…far beyond our wildest hopes and dreams!
Heaven! What do I think about heaven and the afterlife? Do I fear death, or dying…realizing they are not the same thing?
If I built a little home altar, whose photos and mementos would I place on it?
In the midst of all the chaos in the world that we are living in, what are the things in my life for which I am grateful? And what are the things in which I can find openness to God and to what lies ahead in life and in death, believing that God journeys with me through it all?