Dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters in Christ,
Saint Matthew 5, 1-12a
The ground and source of life
As a Priest, officiating at a Holy Burial service , I sprinkle the coffin with Holy Water and with the thurible I go round it to cense the body of the deceased. As a sign of respect and thankfulness. At the same time it is a sign of hopelessness. We dont really want this final goodbye. The deceased has been taken away from us. We feel the wound deep in our soul. We have difficulty grasping this loss, which is irreversable.
In one of the prayers I say at the end of the service , we say:" we pray that you are being met with joy when you cross the river Jordan". Just if we wish the deceased a good journey to another country of peace and happiness. We sometimes realize that we dont know much about this other country. The living dont really know what happens in death. In our lifetime we have our memories, our senses and we have the knowledge to all that has happened to us. We dont have the same experience in relation to life after death. And nobody has ever returned to give us a sign of life.
But deep in our soul desires are very much alive. It is about our dear loved ones, a partner, a child, a parent or a friend. At the same time we are unable to accept that so many die without a purpose, i.e. in natural disasters, in time of war or those victims who are martyred until the end. We feel an inner protest, a kind of a resistance. Something is not quite right. Isnt there some sort of justice? The way you live , the way you deal with your fellow human being, is everthing quite equal?Whosoever says that reasons that cynism is the heart of the reality. And I refuse to believe that.
Well, this refusal is an experiece, which draws a red thread through history. No doubt about it. And perhaps that is is the reason that we dare to think something about those, who passed on.We know how limited our train of thought might be. But perhaps we can keep the picture of the other shore in our mind.That those, who are already there have landed in a situation of peace. This peace is something we spend our whole life looking for. Here and now we are looking for that peace of mind, which allows us to march steadily on our pilgrimage.
Our heart is open for the Peace, it is the voice of our consciousness..
Our hearts as a source of true rightiousness. This is the way how we find God
within our deep desire for inner Peace.
We hope that our dearly departed brothers and sisters may experience this.
An inner Peace, which is being expressed in the Beatitudes.
So often the Beatitudes are presented to us as a guide for living. A sort of goal we have to strive for, a mirror in which we can see our shortcomings. But the Beatitudes are not about commandments or assignments. They dont tells us what we have to become.
They tell us that there are happy people on earth. People that have actually discovered the ground and source of life. They do exist and indeed they are in our midst. They shine.
But we feel that they carry us through. Also by those, who have gone before us. You are blessed if you have found the ground and source of this life.
Those are the people, who are being congratulated in the Beatitudes. Tell yourself that your are fortunate if we know the real mining of this life. If you do know what it is all about. Whatever gives you deep human fullfillment. If you can be happy regarding your possessions and dont feel unhappy because others have much more then you.
When you are against injustice and poverty, when you have no rest because of the misery of so many asylum seekers ( what comes to my immediate mind is all those, who had to leave Syria). If you can find happiness in this lifestyle, be thankful, because it is a precious gift.
The Beatitudes are indeed good wishes for those people, who know inner Peace.Around us there are definetely people, who live like this. The sermon on the mount is not a glorification of poverty, sadness or persecution. The sermon on the mount does not fight injustice and poverty. The sermon on the mount congratulates those people, who have found a balance in relation to their connection with the ground and source of life.
Then we experience the Kingdom of God. Here and now. Happiness is yours when your attitude comes from the ground and source of our existance. With God in our hearts. You are fortunate because of that Peace, which connects us with our dearly departed.
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Bendigo in the Central Goldfields