Monday, November 15, 2021

When simply waiting is not a futile act in life

A personal reflection on life

Ever since I had the first surgery to my skull due to the unfortunate accident on 24 May this year, I have been in a stance of waiting for the needed second surgery to replace the two parts of my skull that were removed by the surgeons as they believed that the injury would cause terrible things to happen to my head.  Then came the news that the surgeons were waiting for the system to allow at least a few family visitors to their inpatients in the hospital before they scheduled the surgery.  That was sometime in the beginning of October when everything was put on hold for the system to change, and all this while on my side, it was a prolonged period of waiting.  And this waiting was something that was incessant.

I found myself embittered with all this waiting, like as if one was waiting for something to change in life.  I tried so many ways to make myself productive with the waiting, but my daily contemplation and prayer came down to offering my time of waiting for the benefit of souls in need of help.  One of the greatest ways I believed this could be done was to pray for the souls who make up the Church Suffering in Purgatory, where they are being purified from their sinful ways before God grants them the eternal joy of heaven in the Church Triumphant, a place which consists of those who have the beatific vision and are in Heaven.  We make use of the time we have in the Church Militant well when we use our time and resources to pray for those who have left this world’s existence and are still awaiting their purification before their beatific vision granted them by God.

One may think that simple “waiting” in life is a waste of time.  Unless God deems it necessary to grant us a gift of revelation that our departed brothers and sisters have attained their beatific vision, the best we can do in this life is to do the “waiting” with good and charitable acts.  As very few of us human beings do receive such a great gift of revelation by God about the souls who have died before us, we will mainly live with this holy anticipation in our hearts.

I have come to appreciate that this waiting is a great gift from God.  It is not to waste time doing nothing, but it reminds us to use the waiting time productively for the benefit of souls and others.  I do not have anything to support that I have done productive things in my life while waiting for the surgery to happen.  But that report is something that God alone knows, as he reads into my heart.  I may not have any confirmation from God that my prayers and charitable acts have brought great benefits to others, but I do know that inside my heart there is peace.  

The Church exists in three states - the Church Militant, the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering.  When we are alive in this world, we make up part of the Church Militant where we are fighting against the wiles of the evil one and his ways of tempting us in life, and while we fight his ways, we are being Militant against the ways of the devil.  Then there is the Church Triumphant which is made up of souls in their glorified state of heaven.  And as I mentioned earlier, the Church Suffering is made up of souls that are being purified in Purgatory.  In all three states there exists the communion of saints, where between each aspect of life we are separated by the barrier of death, and we remain united to each other in one Church, and support each other in prayer.

The Catholic Church celebrates the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering or Penitent on two days - All Saints’ Day on November 1 and All Souls’ Day on November 2.   In Lumen Gentium, we are taught that:

The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him.  But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth.  Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is’.”

With such strong teachings of the three states of the Church, any time that we have in this life is never to be thought of as a “waste” of time.  It is a resource to be richly used for the benefit of others who have gone before us.  

Maybe there are some of you who are reading this blog reflection who are also finding it tough to utilise your time well in such ways that others can stand to benefit from your generosity.  May this reflection give you good cause to offer your time so that others can be richly blessed.  

May God continue to bless and surround you with his peace and love.

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