Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me."
(1 Corinthians 13:12 GWT)
In the past month, two women from my church died. Both women were beautiful, strong and courageous. Both expressed their faith by loving God as they loved others; one serving as a pastor, offering grace and hope to others through the sacraments of the church and the other, serving as a nurse, offering care and comfort to those who were ill. Both of them used their lives to glorify God and to make God's love real to those around them.
As I presided at their memorial services, I was touched by the testimonies of loved ones and friends who shared beautiful memories and sacred stories about their lives together and I was moved to tears as I gave thanks for the lessons they each taught me about faith and life. What a gift it was to each family to hear about the beautiful acts of kindness and wonderful experiences their loved one shared with others.
Following each service, several people commented on how moving the services had been for them how they were blessed to share and to remember. I too was moved and was pleased that others were blessed by our time together. My thoughts led me to wonder if we sometimes fail to see the beauty and acknowledge the sacred journey of our own lives while we are alive.
I wonder if either woman had any idea just how beautiful she was to others? Did they know that offering their lives in service to others allowed their families and friends to see a bit of Christ in them? Were they aware that their example of overcoming adversity and facing debilitating and devastating illness with courage, strength and dignity made them radiate true serenity? When they looked in the mirror did they see the reflection of beauty that others saw in them?
I believe that life is a journey, a sacred journey initiated by God. God's invitation calls us to discover the unique beauty inside ourselves and share it with others. 1 Corinthians 13:12 suggests that for now we see a blurred image in the mirror, but later on, in the fullness of time, we will be able to see clearly. I don't know if they were able to see the radiance and beauty of their lives while they were here with us, but I trust and believe that today, they are looking back and seeing that their lives were a sacred journey of becoming the beautiful women God created them to be.
I'm going to miss Fran and Debbie and I look forward to the day when we will see each other again.