Remember when made for TV movies were good? Okay, maybe not good, but you know, enjoyable in a cheesy kind of way? Or at least watchable? I know, it’s been a long while, but there really was such a time in days of yore. And just in case you can’t remember those fabled days, maybe this little ditty from the made for television magnum opus The Midnight Hour will jog your memory. (And before you ask, yes, that’s Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge busting a move. Sort of.)
“I’m dead, you’re dying, everybody should try it, get dead!” You know, that sentiment kind of reminds me of that old question you occasionally hear from aggressive atheists (usually on message boards where they almost inevitably believe you’ve never heard it before), “If you REALLY believe in heaven, why aren’t you in hurry to die and get there already?” I guess it’s supposed to be one of those oh-so-hip gotcha questions that’s meant to leave a person gaped mouth and speechless, their beliefs exposed as a fraud, their faith crumbling away into dust.
Alas, I’m afraid to inform our secular friends, there are a number of good reasons we Christians don’t just do the non-believers of the world a favor and drop dead. Here’s just a few.
First off, we’re kind of busy at the moment working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. You see, just because we walk into a church every Sunday, that doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed a spot in heaven. Even St. Paul, who wrote thirteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, noted in 1 Corinthians 4:4 that “I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not thereby stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord.” So if Paul’s resume didn’t guarantee him a get out of jail free card, I’m pretty sure the rest of us would appreciate as much time as possible to get our acts together so we have a decent shot of actually making it into the heaven we believe in.
Next, besides the monumental task of whipping our own souls into shape, we also have quite a list of duties Jesus left for us to attend to in addition to all the normal day to day stuff like raising a family and going to work. While there’s no comprehensive lists of what those duties are, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy are a pretty good primer. The seven corporal works of mercy are: To feed the hungry; To give drink to the thirsty; To clothe the naked; To harbour the harbourless; To visit the sick; To ransom the captive; To bury the dead. The seven spiritual works of mercy are: To instruct the ignorant; To counsel the doubtful; To admonish sinners; To bear wrongs patiently; To forgive offences willingly; To comfort the afflicted; To pray for the living and the dead. That’s quite a bit to do, and you kind of have to be alive to do it all.
And finally, this life was given to us by God, and as the Catechism reminds us, “We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.”
So, sorry secularists, as much as some of you might wish all of us religious types would just voluntarily kick the bucket, I’m afraid we just can’t do that. We’ve just got too dang much to take care of in the short time we’ve been alloted. Nice try though.