Friday, July 23, 2010
The Mystery of Death, when the State of the Heart will be Revealed-Part1
The Repose of St Theodora of Thessaloniki
When my father Jose died, in the morning of the 6th of July
1998, I had the blessing of being with him until the end.
I had been praying and reading the scriptures to him, as I
painfully watched his struggle to get some air into his lungs.
According to the doctors, he was in a deep coma but I could
not help thinking that he was able to hear me.
And the portions of scripture I read that morning, still
resonate in my ears;
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth....,
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the
ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.....,
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying ...but of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for
in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. So when the
woman saw that the tree was good....she took of its fruit
and ate. She also gave to her husband...and he ate. Then the
Lord God called to Adam, where are you? ..the Lord God said
to the serpent..And I will put enmity between you and the
woman and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise
your head and you shall bruise His heel...Then to Adam He
said,... In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you
return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust
you are and to dust you shall return....
Man who is born of woman is of a few days and full of trouble.
He comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a
shadow and does not continue...
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth before
the difficult days come...For man goes to his eternal home,
...Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,
..then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the
spirit will return to God who gave it...
O Lord do not rebuke me in Your anger,..Have mercy on me,
O Lord for I am weak...O Lord my God in You I put my trust..
What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man
that You visit him?...
The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament
shows His handiwork...
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, ...Yea though I
walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no
evil; for You are with me,...and I will dwell in the house
of the Lord forever.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through Him and apart from Him
nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was
life, and the life was the light of men.....
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw
His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of
grace and truth....
Now before the feast of the passover, Jesus knowing that His
hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the
Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He
loved them to the end.
So the Roman cohort and the commander..arrested Jesus and
bound Him...And when they had come to the place called
Calvary, there they crucified Him.... Then Jesus said, "Father
forgive them......He said Father, into your hands I commit
my spirit. Having said this, He breathed His last....
But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping;...
..she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did
not know that it was Jesus.... Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabbonni!" (which
means, Teacher). Jesus said to her..."go to my brethren
and say to them, I ascend to My Father and your Father,
and my God and your God. Mary Magdalene came, announcing
to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said
these things to her.
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death
and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! Paschal Canon
I will lift up mine eyes to the hills from whence comes my
help. My help comes from the Lord ...
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness....
Father I have sinned against heaven and in your sight...
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your
lovingkindness"...After reading this last Psalm, I felt
totally identified with my father in his confession of sin
and prayer of repentance as I prayed;
"Oh Lord hear my prayer,my God, I am the flesh of his flesh,
the blood of his blood and the bone of his bones, Lord Jesus,
hear my prayer. His sin is mine, I am responsible. Have mercy
on us and forgive us our sins"
By then, my father's breathing had become very shallow
and irregular. Only my mother and I were present. Dad laid
very quietly. It almost seemed that time itself stood still
around us, as we were overshadowed by eternity.
Then it happened, my father exhaled for the last time.
I saw and I heard. Deep within me, I felt my heart collapse
and in that instant I was embraced by the grace of God which
strengthened me beyond my human frailty. And I felt right
then, that God had heard my prayer. "Blessed is he whose
transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" Psalm 32:1
The moment was very peaceful and holy. Never before or
since have I been so aware of the great dignity of man. I
drew near to dad and held his hands, those strong hands
that so often picked me up and held me when I had fallen.
"I love you dad" I said. I closed his eyes and kissed him and
entrusted his soul to the mercy of God.
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of
God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who
are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in
the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall
always be with the Lord."1 Thess. 4:16-17
"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there
shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall
be no more pain, for the former things have passed away"
Glorified and sanctified be God's great name through-
out the world which He has created according to His
will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime
and during your days, and within the life of the entire
House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.
May His great name be blessed forever and to all
Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled
and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the
Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and
hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken
in the world; and say, Amen.
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life,
for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.
He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may
He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say,
An English Translation
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