Tuesday, August 03, 2010
feel the burn
While contemplating the questions of what becomes of us after death, I had a fresh revelation about a different version of purgatory. The RC doctrine is heavy on punishment. From my view, punishment is unnecessary and fails to reflect a compassionate God. Rather, standing in the face of eternal truth, the process of aligning ourselves with that truth causes a kind of anguish and spiritual pain. Whether you want to call it sin, errors in judgment, actions of malice, or whatever, being stripped of the things that interfered with being and living a life grounded in wholeness and love for which we have not made some effort to atone, is painful. It is the ultimate refiners fire. And again, not literal fire, but the kind of inner pain that comes with transformation. I'm thinking of the moth or butterfly that emerges from the chrysalis, for instance. Spiritual beauty doesn't come without sacrifice.
Maybe the step that takes us from a lifeless body to whatever comes next is really as simple as going into the light, being taken into the arms of Jesus, the bosom of God or the choir of angels. I don't know. But the questions that rise up like the smoke of incense capture our attention and warrant reflection. I don't dwell on these, but for what it's worth the process of turning over in my heart and mind the pain of brokenness has served up a feast for consideration.
Whatever awaits me when that time comes, it is up to me to live a life now that is loving, supportive, giving, and radiates the love and peace that I feel comes from God. However I am able to do that, by whatever means, I seek to do. I fail miserably so often, but each day offers an opportunity to start again, to set my sights afresh on the possibilities and blessings that await, and to be thankful for the opportunity to give it the old college try.