September 15, 2019

Death is an Uncomfortable Subject

JFK Funeral Procession

In the First Book of Kings (17:17-24) and the Gospel of Luke (7:11-17), we hear the stories of two mothers, who were both widows, losing their only son. In both stories, the young men were raised from the dead, restored to life and returned to their mothers.

There are several stories in the scriptures of people being raised from the dead.

  • In the Second Book of Kings, Elisha raises a young boy from the dead. (2 Kings 4:35)
  • Again, in the Second Book of Kings, a man was restored to life when he simply came in contact with the bones of Elisha. (2 Kings 13:21)
  • Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell the story of Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead. (Matthew 9:25, Mark 5:42, and Luke 8:55)
  • Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:43-44)
  • Peter raised a female disciple named Tabitha from the dead. (Acts 9:36-42)
  • And Paul raised a young man named Eutychus from the dead. (Acts 20:9-12)

Death is an uncomfortable subject, but these stories from the Sacred Scriptures do remind us that “life” is more than what we recognize as reality here and now; and that the essence of who and what we are is far more than just these physical bodies of ours. And the proof of this fact lies in the very fabric of consciousness itself.

There are those in the scientific community who contend that consciousness is simply the result of the neurological functions of the human brain. But, to repeat the words of one neurosurgeon, “There is nothing about the physics of the material world, and specifically the intricate structure of the brain, that gives the slightest clue as to the mechanism of consciousness. In fact, the greatest clue to the reality of the spirit realm is this profound mystery of our conscious existence.” (Eben Alexander M.D. Proof of Heaven, Pg 154)

Or as stated by a noted physicist, “Western science has had remarkable success in explaining the functioning of the material world, but when it comes to the inner world of the mind, it has very little to say. And when it comes to consciousness itself, science falls curiously silent. There is nothing in physics, chemistry, biology, or any other science that can account for our having an interior world.” (Peter Russell M.A., D.C.S, Physicist, Teacher, Author)

We are spiritual beings temporarily residing in these earthen vessels. Each and every one of us was created by God to know, love and serve Him. Our God is love. That is His personality. He holds all of creation in existence. Therefore, the binding force of the entire universe is love. We were given this earthly existence to learn to love as God does, perfectly and unconditionally.

The fundamental essence of who and what we are is destined to live for all eternity in a never ending loving relationship with our creator God. But, while we exist in this physical world, we are forced to live within the limitations imposed upon us by these earthen vessels. Yet there is a longing within every person that desires to be united with, and to return to, our loving Creator. But, “during the brain-based, physical portion of our existence, our brain blocks out, or veils, that larger cosmic, or spiritual, background, just as the sun’s light blocks the stars from view each morning. – We can only see what our brain’s filter allows through.”  (Eben Alexander M.D., Proof of Heaven, Pg 72)

We live an earthly existence in a world that surrounds us with proof of this fact. The incredible diversity of life, the beauty of the creation, the vastness of the universe itself, all demonstrate the miracle of God’s creation and give witness to a much larger reality. As Albert Einstein (1879-1955) once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.”

Yes, evil exists on this earth, but there is far more good than evil. But God created each and every one of us with a free will and without evil, free will would be impossible. We can find comfort in knowing that we are never alone. We are loved unconditionally. There is nothing that we can ever think, say or do that goes unnoticed. We are watched over, guided and protected just as a loving parent would watch over, guide and protect an only child.

Our job, while we are here, is to simply live a life demonstrating the love of God to one another.

Human consciousness gives undeniable witness to the spiritual reality of our existence. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us to always live our earthly lives with faith in this reality. We do this when we contemplate God’s greatness and majesty. We do this by living in thanksgiving, knowing that everything we are and have comes from God. We do this when we recognize the unity and dignity of all people, for everyone is made in the image and likeness of God. We do this every time we make good use of created things. And we do this by trusting God in every circumstance, even in adversity.  (CCC, 223-227)

“We believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” That is our Creed. The stories from the Sacred Scriptures of those who were raised from the dead and restored to earthly life give credible witness to the fact that the spirit of each and every human person lives forever.

May each and every one of us learn to bear witness to the Love of God to every person that God places in our life.

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Written by
Deacon Donald Cox

REVEREND MR. DONALD COX is a permanent deacon of the Archdiocese of Detroit. On June 9, 1979, Deacon Don was ordained to the diaconate by His Eminence John Cardinal Dearden, an important American Father of the Second Vatican Council. He is currently assigned to St. Cornelius parish in Dryden, Michigan. Married and the father of three children and grandfather to four children, Deacon Don was born and raised in Detroit, and educated at St. Brigid Elementary School, Mackenzie High School, and Lawrence Technological University. His theological training was taken at Detroit's Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

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Written by Deacon Donald Cox
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