Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I want to go to heaven, but...

Everybody wants to go to heaven. Nobody wants to go to hell. We Catholics sometimes hedge our bet and "settle" for Purgatory. We all accept the fact that we have to die before we get there. We talk about this fairly often.

I was talking about it this morning after the daily Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with a dear friend of mine. During the conversation she said something to me that struck me like a thunderbolt.

I don't remember exactly how it came about in the conversation, but at one point I mentioned to her that except for two people in my large family and extended family, father's side and mother's side, everyone died without notice. My bottom line was that I pray every day that "The Man Upstairs" grant me the grace to die without notice.

Her reaction was quick and precise.

Allow me to paraphrase her, all the while staying true to her conviction.

She pointed out that since she was a little girl she has been praying that God not take her until He comes in Glory so that she would be there to run up to Him and hug Him. She amended her thought a little bit and said that if she didn't get to hug him she would at least want to touch the hem of his garment to greet Him because, she said, "there will be a lot of people there."

This wonderful thought process was enlightening to me. Imagine, praying for the privilege to greet Jesus when He comes again.

All my life I've been praying for a "happy, sudden death". I've never been one to fear death, such as it is. But I do honestly admit that there are some ways that I don't want to die. I don't want to drown, I don't want to burn, I don't want to have emphysema or cancer or other such drag-along illness.

It never came to me until this morning that I could be praying to be there when Jesus comes back. Why did I have to wait so long?

I hope that those of you who are reading this will be blessed with a similar enlightenment to mine. If these thoughts can be of use to your soul, then I am sure that you will not cry at my funeral.

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