Head of Religious Education
June is a month that involves many important dates for the Catholic Church including the birth of John the Baptist, Pentecost and the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Another of these important dates is the Ascension of Jesus, which was celebrated on Sunday 2 June. At the end of His earthly life, Jesus ascends both body and soul, triumphantly into heaven. This event marks the end of the Easter season and reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made for all of humanity through His death.
Jesus’ ascension is important for many reasons, however, one that we reflect upon is that it allowed Him to prepare a place for us at the conclusion of our physical life on earth. This is the place we call Heaven, and as Christians we live in hope that one day, we too may enter this Kingdom when we come to the conclusion of our physical life on earth.
Undoubtedly, death is a sad time that we do not necessarily want to think about, especially as we mourn the loss of a loved one. However, death is also a time for us to live in immense hope, as we remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for all humanity, that we may one day have eternal life. Unlike Jesus in death, our bodies remain part of the earth, but our soul will ascend, just as Jesus did. This is indicated in the Genesis 3:19 “For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”
When attending a recent funeral, the Benedictine priest reflected on the way people can remember those who have passed. He made the connection between the traditional Catholic prayer, the Rosary, and the three ways that we look at Jesus’ life: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries. It was in this way that the priest asked the family to think about their father, grandfather, husband and friend. He reminded them that there would have been many joyful occasions in the life of their loved one, such as the birth of his children; many glorious moments that he would have shared with his loved ones, such as marriage to his wife; and many sorrowful occasions where people were there to provide him support and comfort, such as the death of his mother or father. Therefore, in death, we too are like Jesus, and in our lives, we look at ways that we can live more like Jesus did.
So as we reflect on the lives of our loved ones, both those who are with us physically and those who are with us spiritually, let us appreciate them and think of an Ignatian approach to life:
What are the joyful events that they have experienced in their lives?
Were we the person that made their lives glorious?
Who was there to support them during their times of sorrow?
How can we build upon our relationships with our loved ones?
Mr Jason Currao
Head of Religious Education