Sunday, June 5, 2016

Meditation on Rich Man and Poor Lazarus

Meister des Codex Aureus Epternacensis 001.jpg
Lazarus and Dives, illumination from the Codex Aureus of Echternach
Top panel: Lazarus at the rich man's door
Middle panel: Lazarus' soul is carried to Paradise by two angels; Lazarus in Abraham's bosom
Bottom panel: Dives' soul is carried off by two devils to Hell; Dives is tortured in Hades
Taken from Wikipedia

This was a powerful meditation. You'll have to excuse the seemingly disjointed thoughts. By the way, some people think it's sacrilegious to write in church, but it's one of the things I do regularly. I figure if the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen did so in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, it's good for me as well :) And there's such a comfort to ask Jesus to write with me.

We are always being called by God to holiness. It’s a continual conversion. Pray to help begin again. To have good desires, deeper faith. There is a certain lethargy even if we are busy. We say things like when we get over this hump, or when the kids graduate, then I’ll have time to pray more, but the problem is, when we finish one thing, there’s another. Our time is taken up with things of the moment, new things, different things. It’s like hiking – there’s always another hill. We get older we feel more fragile. Our parents, our peers, they begin to die. What the heck is retirement? Life ends. We only are made in His image. Everything else reflects His beauty. So only we participate in His mysteries. To grasp the good and share it. At the end, we give an account to God for how we’ve used those gifts.
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is one we cannot forget. When you die, it is too late. Life is finished and there’s a gulf between heaven and hell. Nothing can be done. We have the Law of Moses and the words of the prophets. Even if a dead man arose, people wouldn’t believe. A dead man did rise! Jesus. But how many believe?

Lord, help my unbelief!
The Holy Spirit does not force Himself upon us. The Lord will knock and waits for us to open the door. The Lord will never coerce.
When we take a class, students ask: Is this going to be on the test? It’s an important question because at the end of life, when you stand before the throne of God, you will have to answer. And the consequences are eternal. If it’s true, if Jesus is God, then our eternal life depends on it. It’s going to be heaven or hell. If it’s not true, why bother?
The Catechism says that upon death, we are judged according to our faith and works. How we lived. Our Lord is not trying to “get us” into trouble but always drawing us closer to Himself. See, for a person who hates Jesus, who does not believe in God, it would be hell for him to be in heaven, where it is all love. He couldn’t stand it. That’s why hell is an eternal separation.
So yes, you have to choose. We will be purged and purified. St. Augustine says the suffering in purgatory is greater than anything we can imagine but they are happier than anyone on earth because they know the purpose of suffering. They know they are on the road to heaven and so can endure this temporary separation from God.
Our Lord, Who always did good, dies as a criminal, abandoned by even his friends and betrayed by a close one. It is total devastation. But it turns into total victory because it is offered with total love for the salvation of the world.    
So make each day count in spite of our personal wretchedness. Our eternal destiny is to be with God, with all the angels and saints. Be a saint!
This is the Christian vision of life. Eternity. But we’ve lost this and that’s why we prescribe death as a cure. We euthanize. We abort. But this is false mercy. It is blindness. Everything that is not of God will pass away. Everything that is of God will endure forever.
Faith is a Person – Jesus Christ. The God-Man. It is a mystery of the Trinity. Jesus is sent by the Father so that we may get to know the Father by the help of the Holy Spirit. It is about coming to love someone. Not just a bunch of rules. Morality is the path to eternal life and love. To meet our Lord. In John’s first letter, he begins.  … we have seen, we have heard, we have touched. We testify. He wants us know Jesus so that our joy might be complete. That you may believe! He is an old man while writing this letter. He is one of the sons of Zebedee, sons of thunder because they were so full of fire. Jesus rebukes them but he is the beloved disciple. Doctrine helps us to understand who Jesus is.
I am just an ordinary woman, but I also need to write. It is an overflowing of the interior life. It is natural that I want to bring my greatest treasure – Jesus – to share. One of these days I will need to write my testimony in detail, not the shorty one I wrote for Catholic Digest. When I read the Purpose Driven Life, that is one of the important things Pastor Warren asks us to do.


Mirka Breen said...

You share your spirit beautifully.

Vijaya said...

Thank you.