Moore, OK. 51 confirmed dead from the monster tornado. 20 children. 2 forms of “a mighty rushing wind.” The first: a blessing, one of the greatest blessings every bestowed on the Church. The second: a killer tornado spreading devastation and destruction more than one mile wide across this town. I pray for the victims, alive and dead, of that tornado. How does one align these two occurrences.
First, we have to discard the mindset of man and take on the mindset of God. Then we have to remember that, with God, everything happens in the present, not only living and dying, but judging, mercy and salvation. Then, we have to cling tightly to the fact that God loves us with an overwhelming, unconditional, eternal and divine love. And to the second fact that the only thing He wants for us is to achieve our greatest happiness…and that happiness is not in this life, is not in things, is not in houses, is not in living a long life on earth…indeed, we call this the “vale of tears.” It is being happy, eternally and completely happy with Him, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with Mary and all the saints, with the Angels…all together in Heaven. However, normally we would not, of our own accord, except in desperation and dispair, seek to leave this life. And He did tell us that he would return when we least expected it and hopefully find us, his stewards, on duty.
It is within this context that deaths, be they from natural tragedies or man-inflicted, are seen by God, the Church Triumphant and Suffering, and the Angels. We in the Church Militant are the ones out of the loop. We tend to see simply absence and loss from our perspective instead of presence and gain from the perspective of the loved one. If we took on their vision, we would be very happy, indeed ecstatic for their blessing. They have not evaporated; they have not left us. They have been taken into new life, new joy, new happiness, eternal life, eternal joy, eternal happiness.
In a sense, death is the ultimate aid to active indifference. This may seem crass and completely insensitive but it is true. We do suffer loss, great loss, great pain as God gently but firmly pries our clinging grasp away, giving the freedom of His sons and daughters to the son or daughter now able, through the merits of the crucifixion of His Son, join Him in Heaven. This is an inescapable, inevitable, wondrous door through which we must all pass if we are to gain eternal life.
But we see only the crushed bodies, the mangled arms, the unrecognizable heads, not the freed spirits, who, while they await the resurrection of those bodies, are now with their Creator, their Redeemer, their Sanctifier. We weep, as the poet said, for ourselves, our loss, our separation, our wound of release. And that is, in God’s providence, also healing. Amen. Alleluia!!!