The E-catechism: July 1998
|The Salvation||Ageing and Death|
Each month the team working on this catechism presents you with two texts, and we hope that with your help and cooperation they will improve. Any suggestions you may have would be most welcome, as would ideas on subject matter.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Jesus wanted us to find the God of forgiveness, whose only desire is for us to learn to forgive one another. In a sense, He wants to hold our hand and lead us, form a world that is no longer trusting, into a paradise, where once again the teachings of the Bible, will be followed, to remove fear from our attitude and replace it with unconditional confidence.
Let us not have an image of God according to our own feelings of love and hate, in our fears and our dependencies, and unconditionally place our trust in God, the only One that will render us able to overcome our anxiety contradictions which will mislead and disturb our relationships. In this manner, Jesus will heal our diseases through the strength of our faith. In a strong voice. He invites the excluded, and those who have never had any opportunity, to partake from the same table thus replacing legality with a spirit of freedom and kindness.
Jesus announced the coming of the Kingdom of God from where no one will be excluded. Instead, everyone will be allowed to participate in the social, political and religious practices. Jesus refuses our tendency to respond to anxiety by giving in to anxiety. He denied with a resounding no the manner in which fear is reinforced by the strong power that has been placed in the hands of the State, of the religion and of the society. He believes, once and for all, that men should not be intimidated but , they should live in freedom, searching for the truth that resides deep inside them.
When addressing fear and the feeling of defeat which exists within ourselves, it is unavoidable to feel afraid. Beginning by those in whom power is blended with the fear of discrediting God at the level of a sentiment of guilt. He, who wants life, will necessarily bring unto him the forces of death. This is the reality of "salvation!": Jesus did not recoil from his execution but carried on with His mission to bring heaven to earth. Only those who live by faith and by love will be truly free and able to overcome the fear of death. They are the ones that can truly say they have been saved.
AGEING AND DEATH
Jesus did not explain death. He faced death, with some anguish but, above all, with confidence and love. "Father, I place my soul in your hands!". A love that rejects no one.
Is Death, the ultimate phase, the door through which one enters into the following stage or is it but a mere last phase of life? Is it not or can it not be the moment of change that crowns life? Death and the conditions under which we live this certainty will remain a mystery. The meaning of this last stage or our life belongs solely to us.
When we look back, old age is when we confront ourselves, when we become conscious of a certain principle which is our way of being. Time and things become irrelevant. The moment when, looking back at our way of life, we try to improve ourselves. This is why, if the retrospect is accepted, this becomes a phase of decantation, of confrontation with the essential, of reaching consensus with oneself and with the values that have guided our choices.
The quality of the relationship and the inner intensity walk hand in hand. Old age favours a profound study of oneself and, at the same time the learning of the importance of the relationship. We exist to be together. The profound truth arising from the ageing changes acquires an even more profound importance through the shared confidence and communion of the same fundamental values. The action is less imperative, our life revolves around the person and the life that has been lived together.
The increasing dependency of the old person and of the dying, instead of becoming a loss may indeed have a positive significance. For the "believers", it is clearly a manner of living in the grace of God. For this last phase, what best can we take with us than an unlimited faith? Our actions, our fights, our choices, our failures may give us a perspective of what our life was. Although for us believers, what is indeed important is to place our Faith in God, where the plenitude of love exists to be revealed.
The prospect of death will restore the quality and the coherence of the present life: a more or less serene acceptance of a definite personal end or the hope of a life after death, to once again be in the presence of those who departed before and the expectation of finally finding a happy life.