My mother died in 1996, over 26 years ago. As we were working on the details of her funeral, I thought of her life and the many trials she endured and how she had persevered to the end…. 40 years a widow, battling addiction and never giving up. I thought of many dark days she endured and never gave up. She had a twinkle in her eyes, even during tough times. For her prayer card, I selected a passage from St. John Henry Newman which captured a glimpse of her life.
“May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest and peace at the last.”(St. John Henry Newman)
Mary Dempsey Touhill fought the good fight of faith until the “fever of life was over and her work was done…and then the Lord gave her safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last.” I can picture her finally home with the Lord, at rest, at peace. I had never read that passage from John Henry Newman until I selected it for “Granny’s” prayer card. It touched something in my soul…. a longing of my soul…. maybe a longing for all of us.
There were beautiful lines in today’s Magnificat that touched some of these same sentiments. “We are a pilgrim people, journeying through the varied landscapes of life on our way to the heavenly Jerusalem. Let us travel light, unburdened by useless baggage—material or spiritual— and sing this pilgrim psalm to the God who has given us such a glorious goal in life.” (Magnificat, 10-3-22, meditation on Psalm 84)
“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts. My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord…one day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere…” (Ps. 84:2-12)
Sometimes we can find ourselves not really satisfied, not feeling like we’re home? Well I think it’s because we’re not home. This is not our home. Sure we are blessed with family and friends. Certainly we have experienced the love of God… his mercy and kindness… but we’re not home. Sin still clings too closely. Sorrow still wanders in and out of our day. This is not heaven. We are still in the battle. We are the Church Militant. We still have work to do for the kingdom of God. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” (Heb. 12:1) It’s still our time to run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
Let’s finish this BLOG with another beautiful prayer from today’s Magnificat. “O Lord, as we travel through this day of our life, our strength is in you; in our hearts are the roads to our eternal destination, the place where you dwell for ever with your people in joy and in peace. Sustain us as we pass through the bitter valleys of suffering; shield us as dangers threaten; let us rejoice in the springs of living water that refresh us on our way; and keep us faithful until journey’s end, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
One day for each of us, the fever of life will be over and our work will be done…and may the Lord then give us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last. Wow, that will be really good news. But for now, let’s continue to fight the good fight of faith with courage and joy.