Sunday, June 23, 2024

Our Lives are a “History” that is Mysterious and Meaningful

We did have a very happy anniversary in a simple way, full of so many memories—indeed, it was a different world in 1996. Our personal "world," in particular, has changed a lot. A local Janaro family picture on our wedding day was quite different from the most recent local family picture (from Anna’s baptism last December). I have posted the latter picture more than once recently. On the other hand, this 1996 picture—which dates from the pre-social-media era—is seldom seen unless we get out the “photo album” from our wedding (I have begun to scan these old pictures, but there are lots of them). One thing that strikes me this year is that my Dad was 61 years old and my Mom was 57 when we got married. And now, I am 61 and Eileen is 57.

The generations have shifted. Our “history” is moving forward.

So many people who were at our wedding have passed on. I miss those friends (including one of my groomsmen), most of the older generation of relatives that I knew since childhood, and especially my dear father and mother. They have completed the journey of this life, and have entered into the final and definitive encounter with the Mystery of God. 

We no longer see them in this world and we miss them; sorrow is a profound part of being human. And yet, slowly with time, our sorrow begins to be changed, to open up beyond itself, to be turned into something like peace that even has hints of the flavor of joy. 

Human life is historical, which means it changes. But we know that God has come to dwell with us, and He fills all history and our own lives, all the changes and losses (even those that are painful and overwhelming). He fills all of life with His promise, and He asks us to trust in Him.

Jesus is God-with-us, the center of the cosmos and of history. He stays with us in our own “histories of our lives,” takes our sins and sorrows and bears them Himself, and gives meaning to everything.

So we have a great hope that grows mysteriously (sometimes, it seems, “strangely”) with the passage of the years. We miss our loved ones, but we know that they remain in our lives—and not in a merely vague and hazy manner generated by our own mythopoetic reconstruction of our memories of the past. We remain together with them in Jesus Christ crucified and risen, glorified at the Father’s right hand, sending the Holy Spirit to transform us—Jesus present in His Church, present in a powerful way through the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage that marked our wedding day, 28 years ago, and that remains to this day as a fountain of grace that sustains our lives and our marriage. 

Dear Jesus, thank You for everything. Grant that we may always remember You and adhere to You. Carry us both, in Your Mercy, to the fulfillment of Your eternal embrace, together with those who have gone before us, with those who are with us now (children and grandchildren), and with those yet to come—the generations of the future.