This is what I was pondering last night after hearing about the horrible killings at Northern Illinois University. Add to that the random shootings in Tinley Park a short while ago and my first inclination is to ask "Why, Lord?" to which we may never know the answer. The next question I asked is, "Okay, Lord, what is it You want us to learn from all of this?" Immediately into my head popped the question "How many of those people were ready to meet the Lord?" I obviously don't know the answer to that question, but it sure got me thinking that maybe that is something we need to really take to heart when we hear about tragedies such as these.
So, how do we get to be ready to meet the Lord, which we know can happen at any moment? I like to think of that time as if I will be finally getting to see someone that I have known for a very long time, like a long time pen-pal (or maybe prayer-pal would be more appropriate). A lot of people dread the thought of meeting the Lord when they die. Hopefully if we have a solid prayer life it will be more like meeting a friend than a judge. So, I guess yesterday's thoughts can also apply to today's post.
Another way that we can be ready is by taking time, especially during this Lenten season, to go to confession. In "In Conversation with God" they have a quote from Pope John Paul II about confession. He says, "Lent is a particularly appropriate time to awaken and form the conscience. It is precisely at this time that the Church reminds us of the overwhelming necessity for sacramental Confession, so that we can all live Christ's resurrection, not only in the liturgy, but also in our own soul." And just to keep with the joy theme, the book goes on to say that "The sincere confession of our faults always leaves great peace and joy in the soul. The sadness caused by sin and a lack of correspondence with grace turns into joy."
Hopefully if we are faithful to our prayer life and frequent confession, we will be prepared to meet our Lord at any moment. Let us pray that all those who lost their lives in these two shootings were also ready.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord; and may perpetual light shine upon them. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen