March 25, 2011

What If You Dialed Heaven But No One Was Home?

For Angela

You pray once and you get a reputation of being a prayer warrior, someone that God must really listen to. Then, one day, the prayer doesn't seem to work.

Is God out of town? Why does Satan always seem to answer his phone?

God always listens. God always answers. Sometimes the response is "no"

Some days I get angry.

If we are to say "fiat" like Mary did in order to feel the power of God dwelling within us, why does it seem like God can say "no" most of the time? Yet, we are still to love Him?

Some days I don't know anything. Some days I feel it is all a sham and my friends and family are false.

I know death is as messy as birth and just as smelly and uncomfortable. I've seen people die right in front of me-more than once. Yet, birth is more often welcomed and death is feared.

If we believe death is only the beginning, then why fear it? If you've lived your life walking with God and you honestly and truly believe that when you die you have a chance to go to Heaven (God willing) why be afraid? Be not afraid. I am with you always,said the Lord. He is with us, but we are not always with Him.

Jesus' death was messy and terrible. Most deaths are not beautiful. The mode of death may matter, but really it isn't the death that matters; it's what happens after that really matters. God willed and chose the time for the death of His Son. God chose our time as well. Yet,some of us want to force His hand. They want to control death. They want to wind God's wristwatch. Good luck with that. Do you not see that God knew before you did?

I truly believe that when God says "no" to us He has a greater plan. How we care for the dying, how we face death, reveals as much about us as it does about the deceased. There is a lesson at the death bed. I honestly believe this. I've lived it. I'm always amazed at what serious illness and sudden death reveal about character. I'm still surprised that an aunt I wrote off years ago as being a flake revealed herself to be a superb caregiver to a relative who was dying. She was with her to the end. She had a reputation her whole life of leaving; now when it really mattered she stayed.

Moments of grace can be had during moments of great suffering. We may not see it immediately. It may take years before we learn the lesson. Maybe some of us never will. But, like, The Sacrifice, it is for all but only many will know it.

It is never a waste of time to pray. It is never a waste of time to talk to God. It is never a waste of time to pray for others. Lessons are taught. Others, unchurched, see your love and your example. Wow, look at all those strangers praying together for a person they don't even know! Priceless.


Blogger Clamburger said...

There seems to be a dichotomy of sorts in the church... Some people believe that very thing that you've explained. I'm one of them. Some people are convinced God must always answer our righteous prayers with "yes," and that if he doesn't, it only means that there is sin or something of that nature in our lives that block Him from acting.
At one time, I convinced myself that God wouldn't answer certain of my prayers because of sin in my life, or because my prayers weren't what was best for the person I was praying for, etc. But after a while, I couldn't live with that answer anymore. I couldn't think of prayer as a bureaucracy, where our prayers are only answered if we jump through the hoops (righteous hoops as they may be). I couldn't believe that God was cruel enough to leave His followers frustrated about their inability to pinpoint why their prayers weren't answered.
Eventually, I began to become more confident that as long as I continued to pray and examined my life, I was doing my job. That's not to say that I don't still sin. It's just that I can't -and don't- equate the presence of sin with God not answering a prayer.

March 26, 2011 9:59 AM  
Blogger X said...

I think we were posting around the same time last night because I linked to an article that mirrors what you are writing right here!

In spite of my uncle's wrongful death great good has been wrought from it. So many people have told me they have redoubled their prolife efforts. Laura and her Catholic Writers Conference have even adopted my uncle as their "mascot." There was a class of 5th graders praying for my uncle and will continue to pray - in the post-Christian world there will be 25 kids who are being raised prolife - who knows how many lives THEY will touch?!

The Communion of Saints is a beautiful thing. If it wasn't Lent I'd say A**e*uia.

March 26, 2011 10:41 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Clamburger: Great comment.

Angela: {{{hugs}}}

March 26, 2011 3:30 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

"Moments of grace can be had during moments of great suffering. We may not see it immediately. It may take years before we learn the lesson. Maybe some of us never will. But, like, The Sacrifice, it is for all but only many will know it."


March 26, 2011 10:37 PM  
Blogger Tancred said...

How many of us get to that moment of truth where our training and an event meet?

March 27, 2011 9:29 AM  

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