On Being at Peace

This is the final day in a 3-part post. For those seeing this for the first time, here’s Part 1 and Part 2.  In the story, it’s now Monday and I’m at the pulpit during my mother’s funeral.

I thank God for giving me the strength to write his and ask for continual strength in delivering a message to you in my mother’s memory.

The essence of the Christian religion lies in these very simple words: faith, hope, love, and suffering.

Love is special. Yet not easily defined in words, its meaning is shown through its presence and our actions. God expects us to demonstrate and show two basic loves: the love for him and the love for others. Guidelines for both come to us though numerous verses in the Holy Scriptures.

The love for others is the love we are to demonstrate to our fellow people. We must care for the sick, the homeless, the elderly, the oppressed, and for those full of sorrow. During this time of need for my family, the outpouring of love has been overwhelming. The way many cared for Mom by mail, phone, flowers, visits, and through prayers has been reassuring; but God also asks us to love our friends and neighbors who are full of well being.

In Romans 13: 8 & 10 St. Paul writes, “Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another. He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Love never does any wrong to the neighbor; hence love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Mom is loved by many and she loved many – that’s why you’re here. She’s one full of kindness and carried very little malice toward anyone.

But a special lover that I wish to say is the love that our dad showed to Mom. He’s gone through much emotional pain, but God gave him tremendous love and strength to be there for her. We thank him and thank God for his gracious giving. Dad, may God’s strength continue to be with you in the days ahead.

Faith and hope serve as a concrete foundation for our beliefs. They are immaterial, yet ever so strong. All of us go through time when we question God or question his presence, but it’s faith that brings us back to him. Our faith in God guides us through our hope for eternal life.

The road to eternal life does have its share of bumps along the way, and each bump is accompanied by some suffering. Any suffering we have here on this earth is our own trip to Calvary.

In Mathew 16, Jesus tells the disciples that he is to go to Jerusalem and suffer, be put to death, and then rise from the dead. Since this is not what they want to hear, Peter stated, “Heaven preserve you, Lord. This must not happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Go away from me Satan! You are an obstacle in my path because the way you think is not God’s way, but man’s.”

Then Jesus turn to his disciples, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” Mathew 16: 21-27

In Romans 8:18, Paul writes, “I consider the suffering of the present to be nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us.”

So how does all this relate to this moment, this situation? My love for Mom and God, along with the faith and hope provided by Christ kept me going. From the beginning I knew and accepted that liver cancer was terminal, but I never lost faith and hope through the battle. I continually prayed for increased strength for my parents; meanwhile, we were suffering. However, Dad tells us that she suffered more from chemos and radiation than she did in her final days.

The day before we lost her, I sat alone at her bedside praying. I asked God, “Why her? She never harmed anybody!” Within seconds I smiled and looked at the nearby cross and said to myself, “It’s because he suffered for us.” That thought has given me a great amount of reassurance.

I have no bitter feeling against God and none against cancer. God loves all of us regardless of sex, color, or nationality. Mom is most special to our family, but unfortunately that didn’t exclude her or us from a very painful journey.

Love, faith, and hope will carry me through the suffering today and tomorrow; that is the Christian way. Let this be a reminder to all who have faith in Christ and God.

She hasn’t died, but rather only left us temporarily as we will see her again. But let us remember that is she is now at peace – no suffering. She achieved the happiness of eternal life; the very goal we are pursuing. As St. Paul says in First Corinthians, “Death is swallowed up by victory” …. And my Mom won!

August 31, 1987

PS:

  • Happy Mother’s Day Mom. We miss you; we love you; and we’ve OK.
  • To everyone who’s mother has passed on, remember good thoughts today.
  • To everyone who’s mother is still here, do the right thing.