MEDITATION OF THE DAY
Why We Need Not Be Terrified
Jesus’ life culminated with the Paschal Mystery. He has shown us the road to reach heaven: he first walked the way to Calvary. He chose no other way to end his earthly work. He came to earth, healed the sick, preached the Good News, and founded the Church, but above all he lived for his “hour.” He lived for the hour when he would be lifted on the cross and draw everyone to himself. In that hour he accomplished his work. Like Jesus, we must live for our own hour. Each of us has an hour, and it is good to live in expectation of it and to offer it now for the purposes God has entrusted to us, even if we are in the full vigor of physical strength. This is the most beautiful hour, the hour of life and not so much of death. That hour is the moment of our encounter with Jesus—we will see him! It is there that he waits for us, and with him, we will meet Mary, who we have so often called upon in life to intercede for us “now and at the hour of our death.” As a loving Mother, Mary will welcome and lead us to the Father as her favored children….
Jesus, you are our teacher, our judge, our reward! I have no more fear of being judged, but I ardently desire to meet my judge who is so good, generous, and merciful. Jesus, our only joy be you,/ as you our prize will be;/ Jesus, be you our glory true/ throughout eternity.
I would like to conclude this meditation with two testimonies. I remember an account of the last moments of the life of Father Marie-Joseph Lagrange, o.p., founder of the Biblical School at Jerusalem and an example of courage, humility, and faith under trial. He had been in a coma for a long time when, in the presence of his confreres, he suddenly sat up in bed, opened his eyes and, with his hands extended upward, exclaimed: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem!” It seemed as if he had seen the heavenly Jerusalem. Then he slowly closed his eyes, inclined his head, and breathed his last. And in his testament, Paul VI wrote: “In the face of death, the complete and definitive detachment from the present life, I feel the duty of celebrating the gift, the fortune, the beauty, the destiny of this fleeting existence. Lord, I thank you for having called me to life, and still more, that in making me a Christian, you have regenerated and destined me for the fullness of life…. I feel that the Church encircles me: holy Church, one and catholic and apostolic, receive with my blessed greetings, my supreme act of love.”
Venerable Francis Xavier Nguyên Văn Thuân
Cardinal Nguyên Văn Thuân († 2002) was imprisoned by the Vietnamese government for thirteen years. [From Testimony of Hope: The Spiritual Excercises of John Paul II, Julia Mary Darrenkamp, f.s.p., Anne Eileen Heffernan, f.s.p. © 2000, Pauline Books & Media/The Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, MA. All rights reserved. Used with permission.]