Dear Sacred Heart family,
“Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather that it will never have a beginning.” This wisdom comes from Saint John Henry Newman, the English convert and cardinal of the Catholic Church, who was recently canonized by Pope Francis. We are created by God out of love, to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him, and to be happy with Him forever in eternity. Those who accept Christ and His way of life, become His disciples, are transformed by His grace, in order to enter into eternal life, at the end of our earthly race.
Jesus tells us that His followers, “They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. …He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.”
We all want to live, and when someone wants to die, we know that something is wrong. This weekend our readings remind us that the fullness of joy comes when we will behold the face of God. Amidst the battles of this life, we are called to be witnesses of hope, even to be martyrs because we know that what God offers is life, hope, joy, and unending happiness.
Yet, we may still be plagued by doubts and fears. This is why God encourages us by giving us the example of recent saints. An article in the Irish Times about Saint Padre Pio revealed, “A poll in 2006 by Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana found that more Italian Catholics prayed to Padre Pio than to any other figure, including the Virgin Mary or Jesus.”
Why might this be? Saint Padre Pio may be more relatable to us than Jesus, who many think only lived 2,000 years ago. Many of us don’t experience the reality that He is alive! He is calling us to the fullness of life.
In addition to doubts about faith, we have so many fears. We worry about the past. “How can I have hope when I think about my past?” Saint Padre Pio has some very practical wisdom to build on: “My past, O Lord, to Your mercy; my present, to Your love; my future to Your providence.”
Saint Pio encourages us: “Pray, hope and don’t worry.” He also taught that prayer is oxygen for our souls. Worry kills trust and kills hope. Amidst all our trials, crosses and fears, we must remember the hope of eternal life that Jesus died to share with us.
The saduccees in today’s Gospel doubt the Resurrection. They want to encourage us to put the Lord to the test, by denying a supernatural outlook. They lived in a flat world, denying eternal life. How many among us have this same emptiness? We have been guided our entire lives by the Good Lord, Who waits among us in the Blessed Eucharist. He waits for us to visit Him.
We began with Saint John Henry Newman, and we return to him. If we a supernatural outlook and optimism, we conclude with his rule of life: “If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first- Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God’s glory; say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation well; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect.”
In Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart,
Rev. Bjorn C. Lundberg