He has saved us.
Like a Father, He does all he can for his children. He instructs us, tells us what to do, sets boundaries, wants us to be in communion with him. Yet like petulant children we stray, we rebel. Eventually, many of us come back in humility, seeking love and forgiveness like the story of the prodigal son. And when we do, He accepts our confession and forgives us. He never abandons us.
I remember clearly the first time I attended Easter Mass and truly understood that because of Christ’s surrender we would all be redeemed and welcomed into heaven free of our earthly sins. It was the first Easter Mass after my grandfather died the previous June. The idea that my grandfather now lived an eternal life in heaven, without any of his earthly sufferings, filled me with overwhelming emotion.
The anniversary of my Godson’s death is only two weeks away. After Nick died, I found it extremely difficult to attend Mass, especially during last year’s Easter season, without breaking down and sobbing.
I had some hesitation Easter morning, but surprisingly I felt no sadness, only peace, knowing that despite what happened, Nick is with God. Jesus freed Him from all sin and welcomed Him to the Glory of heaven.
But the death of a child is traumatic and we cry out as Jesus did on the cross, “Oh God, why have you forsaken me?” Nick’s mother is struggling this season, with Easter, with the anniversary approaching, with the idea that God took Nick from her.
I know that God does not cause these terrible things to happen to us, His children, or to our own children. God does not allow these terrible things anymore than we allow our own children to rush headlong into a dangerous situation. We know they will stumble and fall along their path. We know we cannot protect them from every accident. When bad things happen to our own children, we rush to their side, we ease their pain, we try to make it better.
God did not take Nick. God welcomed Nick. He embraced him. He forgave him. He eased his earthly pain. He comforted him. And He will comfort us, if we allow him. If we can abandon ourselves to Him.
We are hurting now. We cry and fight and rage against God. We expect Him to guide us, guard us, protect us. But until we crumble into His arms, surrendering ourselves to His Love, acknowledging his healing presence, we will not find peace. The message this Easter season is powerful, if we are strong enough to hear it: His Love conquers death.