"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"--
This past weekend was our parish annual retreat. Bill and I had the privilege to serve on the team with 23 other people to prepare for this amazing weekend. It was 6 months of planning, praying, and bonding, to ready ourselves to spread the faith to 39 retreatants who would also be attending.
The day before the retreat was to start, one of the couples on the team lost their son to the H1N1 flu virus. His name was Christian. He was 33. He was married with a toddler daughter. The sadness that we all felt was palpable. However, the retreat had to go on.
During the weekend, our Monsignor and Spiritual Director, explained to the retreatants why the couple was not there. There was not a dry eye in the room. As he spoke, I was overcome with so much love for our friends. I believe that everyone in the room, whether they knew this couple or not, began to love them as well in that moment.
Because that is what tragedy does. It draws people in with love.
The priest who gave the homily at Christian's funeral had a beautiful, yet unusual take on why things like this might happen. He told us that Christian loved fly fishing. Father remembered a scene from the movie, "A River Runs Through It", where the characters are seen fly fishing. In one particular scene, before casting his line, the fisherman slaps an insect on his arm and proceeds to use that same bait for his lure, because he knew that was exactly what the fish wanted.
And so began Father's analogy. Jesus, the ultimate fisherman, or Fisher of Men, knows the desires of our hearts. Perhaps he uses the loss of our loved ones as a type of bait to draw us closer to Himself. Since we will have the desire to see that person again in Heaven, we hopefully will lead lives that help us in our journey to get there.
Of course I am not relaying this as well as Father did in his homily. I'm sure this idea is nothing new to most people. People with faith know that this place here on earth is not our home.
Although my heart is broken for my dear friends, their loss
...has made my love for them stronger.
...has made others who may not have prayed in a long time, pray.
...has made someone who takes their loved ones for granted, appreciate them a little more today.
And although it is hard to let go, especially for my dear friends to let go of their son, I pray that they will find peace in the union they now share with God the Father,
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son.