Life can be heavy. My husband’s been travelling a lot lately which strains our relationship. Each child needs me in ways that demand more than I have. The other morning I woke up feeling as if a concrete shawl were crushing my shoulders, and on the brink of an overwhelmed emotional meltdown. Before I knew it I had picked something ridiculous to be upset about. (My husband didn’t compliment my cooking with exactly the right words.) Then I ungraciously ordered the five youngest to the car and stormed out of the house. We picked up some coffee and donuts and found a quiet place to park — in front of a cemetery.
I had myself a good cry while the kids ate and listened to Feliz Navidad (yes, in May). Soon they began to ask questions about death. Still feeling pitiful, I softened and searched for the words to do better. We’d been talking about the Resurrection and Ascension, so as we looked out at the calm graveyard, I reminded them about the words we pray in the Creed at Mass. We believe in the resurrection of the body. That made me think.
What do we believe anyway? I found that it is a de fide dogma that the dead will rise again with the same bodies as they had on earth, a revealed truth of the highest degree of certainty. From the teachings of the Apostles, the Scholastic scholars described how the re-modeled body of the just will be free of suffering, sorrow, sickness and death, a spiritualized nature in which the body obeys the soul with the greatest of ease and freedom of movement. We will be agile, not conditioned by the Laws of Gravity as our earthly bodies are. We be light, and filled with beauty and radiance. “The just shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matthew 13:43)
Later, of course, my husband cleared the kitchen of children so I could cook something wonderful, just for him, and he of course dutifully praised the meal, and the wife he loves, for cooking it. And I praised him for that gift. You see, it’s not so much the praise, but the union, the preciousness of the giving and receiving and the time together. The burdens of life don’t go away, but through grace we are restored, lightened, and better able to navigate. Such moments of grace in the simple things are probably a little glimpse of Heaven.
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott
Book Five “The Doctrine of God the Consummator
The Doctrine of the Last Things or of the Consummation (Eschatology)
Eschatology of the Whole of Mankind
§ 7. The Resurrection of the Dead
(Again, thanks to Dr. Jeff McLeod for recommending the book.)
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