One day each one of us will die. Yep, life is terminal, and nobody get's out alive. As Christians we know this, and we even pledge before our communities every Sunday that we "look forward to the resurrection of the dead and life of the world to come." Do we really mean it though? Or is this pledge just like so many other platitudes we recite by rote and then completely ignore and deny once we assemble in that Communion line. When we receive the Eucharist, the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, we also in that act are pledging our allegiance to everything the Catholic Church believes and teaches. Yet, as the polls so disturbingly indicate most "catholics" don't believe this, yet they approach anyway, just like they profess the Faith they evidently don't believe either. Both are sacrileges, both are dangerous to the soul.
It also appears that just like most don't seem to believe, yet will go through the motions anyway, pledging things to God that we never expect or plan to fulfill or be obligated too, of these promises, we also don't seem to believe what Christ taught us and even revealed to us about death and life eternal. Again, we profess to be Catholic, yet totally disregard any of the teachings of the Catholic Faith and the Church. At least those who fail to show up on Sunday are being more honest about their true disposition, rather than the ones who do show up, and profane those beliefs as the approach the altar and mock Christ himself, to his very physical presence here on Earth. It is pretty disturbing really and a window into just how evil and sinful we are. An indication of the arrogance and pridefulness that engulfs and dictates our actions in life.
Parishes seem way more concerned these days about the social activities and programs they offer, even making attendance at Mass less convenient in order that these activities can have prime locations and visibility. So many of us use the Divine Liturgy and Sacrifice of the Mass as platforms for our own self seeking glory and attention, reveling in opportunities to even sacrilegiously boast about "faith" and religious greatness and superiority even during homilies, when and where only the ordained should preach. We see these things happening even in communities that claim to be orthodox and faithful, applause breaking out each week to honor the accomplishments of us, and ignoring the reason, the only reason we gather in the first place - to give honor and glory to God alone - once applause breaks out, we loose the sense of the sacred. So sad.
It is no wonder that when it comes to death, we hold onto life so savagely and so desperately. We cling to life, because we don't really believe, or because perhaps we do, and we know that we aren't ready. Most of us know that we don't live lives worthy of Heaven, or even purgatory. Which is a whole different topic of a doctrine most disregard and deny. I think deep down inside we know and understand that we don't try very hard to live lives according to Christ and the Gospel, and so we cling to life because that is what we have chosen, that is what we have valued, and when it's finally the end, we come to know that very well, and it scares us.
Our bishops and clergy haven't helped, actually promoting this dilemma, preferring the temporal and sinful pleasures of this world as well. There are only a few that hold onto the Truth and live as an example for us to follow. "The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of Bishops."
I guess that is why so many of us don't mention prayers for the dead when someone dies. Prayer and penance is all but forgotten as well. The notion that all go to Heaven no matter how evil the choices we made during life, and that goodness really does matter is not believed either. If everyone goes to Heaven, it must not be all that special, right? If it is automatic, then is certainly isn't worth sacrificing and dying for, is it? Why wouldn't we cling to this temporal life?
And that is the great lie and deception of Satan, that the glories and triumphs of this life are everything. As we reflect upon the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, perhaps we should reflect on this Truth. All the accomplishments in this world are nothing, if in the process we lose our souls to damnation. We must pray for this woman, because just like so many of us, her life reflects a distance from God that seems as far as the east is from the west. None of us knows her soul and her heart, as none of us know the souls of any other, yet actions and behaviors can reflect what is in the heart and what is worthy of chastisement and correction for the greatest good to be attained of all - Heaven.
Perhaps this can be a wake up call to us all, to start living life in preparation for death, because death is the climax of this existence of ours, our death, because at death our eternity is sealed. Many of those whose hearts reflected that disbelief and profanation of our Lord will be able to profane Him for all eternity. That life is a failure. That life has not achieved it's ultimate purpose, the purpose God created it for, not the purpose it created for itself.
When we gather at the altar, let us pray for all the departed, whether their faithfulness was apparent or not, and hope they reconciled before they left this temporal life, and are now on the side of Christ and His glory, instead of the other side, and what they erroneously believed was their own glory.