Category Archives: Passage

Blessed are they who mourn

An excerpt from the Gospel for today Mass on the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time has comforting words for those suffering the loss of a loved one:

Matthew 5:4:”Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

We are reminded in Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14: “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”

(Via USCCB.)

We who have lost loved ones to death are to not be sorrowful like those who have no hope in the afterlife. We shall be comforted, either by our hopeful reunion with them in Heaven, our by our realization that they are not really separated from us forever. They are still a part of our lives, for death only separates them from us by time. Time passes, and just as those who have gone on before us have travelled through the passage of death into the afterlife, we shall hopefully follow.

We yearn for them. We miss them. We long to be with them. Let this yearning be a way to burn away here on Earth the sinful tendencies of our lives which only increases our separation from them, and from God.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Shutting out the fear of Death

An excerpt from “The treatise of St Cyprian on mortality, ‘Let us shut out the fear of death and meditate upon immortality'” contained in the Office of Readings for Friday, 34th Week of Ordinary Time: has encouraging words for those who long for Heaven: “We ought never to forget, beloved, that we have renounced the world. We are living here now as aliens and only for a time. When the day of our homecoming puts an end to our exile, frees us from the bonds of the world, and restores us to paradise and to a kingdom, we should welcome it. What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his own country as soon as possible? Well, we look upon paradise as our country, and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers and children longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us to see one another and embrace! O the delight of that heavenly kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endless bliss of everlasting life!

There, is the glorious band of apostles, there the exultant assembly of prophets, there the innumerable host of martyrs, crowned for their glorious victory in combat and in death. There in triumph are the virgins who subdued their passions by the strength of continence. There the merciful are rewarded, those who fulfilled the demands of justice by providing for the poor. In obedience to the Lord’s command, they turned their earthly patrimony into heavenly treasure. My dear brothers, let all our longing be to join them as soon as we may. May God see our desire, may Christ see this resolve that springs from faith, for he will give the rewards of his love more abundantly to those who have longed for him more fervently.”

(Via Universalis.)

These are excellent words to meditate upon, for we should not have a fear of death. After all, it is just a passage through which we leave our Earthly exile and go home.

If desire for God and holiness can be turned into a prayer, then we can make one out of some of St. Cyprian’s words:

Oh, Heavenly Father, we beseech You with the groanings of our heart the longing we have for our true home with You. May Christ our Mediator see our resolve to finish the journey and “increase our faith.”(Luke 17:5) so that we may enter into your eternal Kingdom and see You and all the Saints in Heaven, together with our loved ones who have gone before us.

We ask you this in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Where was Mary assumed to?

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a Dogma of the Catholic Church that when Mary “died” she was taken up into Heaven, body and soul, due to her preservation from Original Sin and therefore not suffering the corruption of death. This is connected to the Dogma of her Immaculate Conception, which says that based on the anticipated merits of Jesus’ suffering and death, she did not inherit Original Sin, like everyone else.

These are required beliefs for Catholics and if you find them hard to take just consider meditating on them as ways of spiritual progression. Even if it takes the rest of your life, which would most likely be the case.

There is an excellent article entitled: Where was Mary assumed to? via New Theological Movement that offers up an interesting take on where exactly is Heaven? Read it and ponder!

The discovery of this article (I found it on Spirit Daily) also gives me the excuse to start the occasional and irregular series of posts on Catholic and Scriptural metaphysics. Wow.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Loved ones greet us when we go Home

Spirit Daily has an excellent and comforting article on death, and that perhaps it is something to look forward to, at least not fear: RELATIVES ARE THERE WHEN WE DIE

The notion that we are greeted by loved ones after we die and enter into eternity (assuming Heaven is the destination) is not new to me, it is the subject of numerous prayers and devotions to the dead and dying. But the article relates these stories from a “Near Death Experience” perspective, and therefore lend some testimonial evidence as screened by a researcher.

Read it and get hope!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

A symbol of Purgatory

A few days ago I began a vacation from my job. However, on my first “official” day of vacation, I was still required to attend a mandatory monthly meeting. No big deal, I have to get up early and tolerate a meeting before the joy of my vacation could begin. But my vacation would still begin. Then the thought hit me: “This would be like going through Purgatory before entering the fullness of Heaven.” When in Purgatory, the suffering soul knows it is saved, but cannot be fully united with God in Heaven. Too much of the self, and a clinging to worldly desires keep it from entering Heaven.

I tend to think quite often in symbolic or metaphoric terms. I like to connect concrete things to the spiritual. It helps me to better conceptualize the unseeable.

So, my vacation is like Heaven, and having to put up with a momentary passage through a meeting is like a Purgatory. I desire Heaven and don’t want to have to pass through Purgatory, but due to circumstances of my life, I have to be delayed before arriving at my ultimate goal.

“Vacation” is a nice metaphor for Heaven, particularly the idea of an Endless Vacation, (an “Endless Summer”) at an Infinity-starred resort paid for by the resort owner. The only actual cost to you is to get rid of unnecessary baggage. You can’t show up at this resort covered in stains and wearing shabby clothing, the stuff you bore from where you came. At this resort you have to wear the resplendent garb of the permanent guests. The old stuff, the garments of the old country, has to be tossed out and burnt.

Only then can you enter.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Is it the Fire of Hell, or Purgatory?

There is an article in Spirit Daily: “WHEN A SOUL SPEAKS OF FIRE, IS IT HELL OR SOMETIMES LOWEST PURGATORY?” that discusses for the discernment of readers the Gospel passage of the rich man and poor Lazarus.

The article mentions the possibility that the rich man may not have been in Hell, but rather Purgatory. Kindly read for your consideration. (I think Jesus was talking about Hell, not Purgatory.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

September 5, 1995. My father died.

On this date in 1995 my father died.

He and I weren’t very close, (“fathers and sons …”) generational and attitudinal differences separated us.

As a result, I didn’t really grieve over his death. I mean, I was saddened and did feel the loss, but I wasn’t ripped apart by his death like I was over my Mom’s 10 years later.

This relative lack of impact was aided by the fact that I was 2,500 miles away and hadn’t seen him in 4 years.

I went home for his funeral, and reconnected with the family, but when I returned home to California I continued life as usual. I had started drinking heavily to cope with life’s problems a year before (failed romance) and my drinking picked up a little more upon my return, so that may have softened the need to grieve in a sober manner.

The point of this is that although I wasn’t too close to Dad during his life, I am much closer to him now. That would seem strange to non-Catholics, but for believers with a knowledge of the Communion of Saints, that shouldn’t seem strange at all.

Death doesn’t end a life. Death is just a passage from this life to another. This life is temporary, everything “is”, and then passes away to dust and a dim memory. The life after is eternal. Whether that life is spent in Heaven or Hell depends on what you do in your Earthly life.

There is a connection between those of us still here on Earth and those deceased. It is called, as I referenced in a previous paragraph, the Communion of Saints . (Via New Advent.) This is comprised of the “Church Militant” (those still on Earth), the “Church Suffering” (those in Purgatory) and the “Church Triumphant” (those in Heaven). Only the souls that have damned themselves to Hell are excluded.

“Communion” implies a community, wherein the members still can relate to one another. This relation is conducted by the means of prayer. We pray to the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering for their intercessory power with God. We can somehow sense their presence (although admittedly that “sensing” may be wishful thinking).

They are there to help, comfort and console us. We are separated from them by the chasm of death, but that chasm can be crossed eventually by our own deathly passage.

I said earlier in this post that I am much closer to Dad now than while he was alive. I have grown to be much like him, at least with regard to the practice of my Catholic Faith. (I still haven’t taken up woodworking as a hobby, nor returned to fishing as a pastime, but may in time. I do enjoy yardwork, like he did, and love baseball, too.) I understand him better as the years progress and as I grow older.

To anyone who has lost a parent (or anyone beloved) to death, fear not. They are not gone from you permanently. Consider them as just having moved far away, and the distance you need to travel to meet with them again will take the rest of your life.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

My Parent's Wedding Anniversary

My parent’s were married on April 15th. The year 1937 to be exact. They were married 58 years when my father passed away in 1995.

I do believe that they are in heaven and have interceded for me on a number of occasions. No proof, just a feeling.

I also believe that relationships do not die with death. This is also Catholic teaching, rooted in Sacred Scripture. We are members of the “Communion of Saints”, that “great cloud of witnesses” that St. Paul wrote about.

Relationships are transformed by death into something else. Perhaps a different type of love that we can only dimly feel, but nurtures us anyway in some fashion that we don’t entirely understand. Jesus taught us this when He died on the Cross. He died, yet remains with us.

Blogger’s note: Although this has a post date of April 15, 2008, it was actually written on June 27, 2008. I don’t recall why I didn’t post on the real date.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"