Just as I was writing this article for the Newry Reporter, I received word of the sudden death of a friend. The news came out of nowhere and it felt like a shattering clap of thunder. Without warning the life had been taken of a wonderful person, someone with a huge sense of community who had touched so many lives. How could this happen, I was planning to meet them soon?
Firstly I was startled, unable to comprehend what had occurred, except that it was breathtakingly instant, totally unexpected, completely unanticipated. They did not get to finish their journey, finish that project, have dinner with their family. Death struck instantly, like a storm … or a thief … in the night. There was no time to say, ‘I love you’, ‘goodbye’ or ‘tell my family’.
We do not decide our time of dying, it will come and find us busy, utterly unprepared. A millisecond stands between us all and death. Sudden death in particular can rob us of so much. It can leave us broken and in tears. But there are some things in life which death can never touch or rob from us. Death can never rob us of love or memories. That relationship survives death. What is left behind is the inspiration of how our deeply departed made us feel. It is so true that our loved ones live on in our actions and inspiration. We are also reminded in an old Hebrew Prayer that,
Birth is a beginningOld Hebrew prayer
And death a destination
And life is a journey
We are simply passing through. There are no certainties of a tomorrow for any of us.
And some of us will wish we had come to terms with this long before that clap of thunder comes. The important task we were going to do ‘someday’, that amending of our life that we ‘soon’ would undertake, the sins that we had resolved to renounce ‘beginning tomorrow’, the pardon we would seek from someone we had offended.
Think about it. There is a time to sow … there is also a time to reap …there is a time to die.
So … what are your plans for tomorrow? Only God knows.
November is the month each year when we remember in a special way our deceased relatives and friends. Nature has prepared for winter as we moved through the Autumn. In winter we look forward to the spring when new growth will appear. Our deceased relatives and friends are now experiencing the new life of being with Christ. Mass will be celebrated each day during November for those whose names are on the November Dead Lists. These are available at the back of all Churches in the parish.
The Annual Mass for our deceased relatives and friends will be celebrated on the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th November. Any family that has lost a dear one during the past year will receive an invitation to one of these Masses. Given the current restrictions each family will have one seat in the Cathedral for the immediate family. Other family members may sit in the side aisles or the transepts.