Sorry for the lack of content, folks. A couple of nights ago my wife’s step-father passed away, so while she helps her mother with arrangements, I’ll be doing double duty here at home. Prayers for Jack’s eternal rest would be gratefully appreciated even though, in all honesty, he was hardly the kind of person who would have accepted the validity of such things while he was alive. Like so many others, Jack renounced any belief in God decades ago after watching his first wife lose an an agonizing battle with lung cancer. He just refused to accept that a God could exist who would allow such suffering in the world. There are many valid theological reasons for why life is this way of course, but as those who have experienced such events knows, that knowledge alone can often be of little comfort. Jack, unfortunately, was one of those who could never overcome the bitterness of his loss to ever consider the possibility of such reasons, much less accept the peace of God awaiting those who’ve had to go through such things.
As so often happens, the lack of faith of the deceased has resulted in a kind of pallor settling over everything. Now I don’t mean to paint with a broad brush as I’m sure there are peaceful, even joyous, atheist funerals out there somewhere. But I’ll be damned if I’ve ever seen one personally. That being said, however, I know this much. I believe in a God who died on a cross, crying out in despair at His own overwhelming feelings of forsaken abandonment. That’s a God who knows intimately what Jack was going through those many years ago when his fist wife died. And as He’s a God of infinite mercy, I can have the hope that He’ll take that into account when Jack stands before him. And because of that, I absolutely do pray for Jack, no matter that he would have scoffed at such a thing. And if you’ve read this far and have got the time, would you mind sending one his way yourself. God bless.
Done. And I think your post is a great one. Jesus didn't say: "Pray just for those guys who believe in me." He said to pray for everyone, even your enemies, if I can be excused in comparing enemies with those who disagree with us. As a case in point, my family is Catholic because of my grandfather. He was a northern Baptist and my grandmother an Irish Catholic. His family didn't come to the wedding because he was marrying one of those dratted Catholics. Her family didn't come because she was marrying one of those dratted Protestants. At the prenuptial appointment in the rectory, it was a shock to my grandfather that he was expected to raise the children Catholic. After four hours of thinking about it, during which time my grandmother went home, he agreed. So my Dad vividly described every Sunday morning while my grandmother stayed in bed, my grandfather would dress the boys and push them in the door of the church while he waited outside. Talk about upright! I was an adult before I discovered that she actually had a REASON for her loss of faith. She had been an army nurse during WWI and could never reconcile the loss of life with a loving God. As you have said, though, certainly nobody can prejudice the Judge before the throne. And he knows we have a limited understanding. But we still pray for them both, not the least of which is for the gift of being raised Catholic. God moves in mysterious ways.
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