Updated: Dec 29, 2020
Though we grieve for those we love, we have such faith in their rest in the Kingdom of God.
Today, I pray most sorrowfully for the dearly departed soul of my husband’s young cousin Sandra, who passed away in the early hours on this Eve of the birth of Christ.
In a hospital overrun by COVID19, far far away – on the other side of the world, in Lebanon, in fact – Sandra, who was only in her mid-forties, finally succumbed to the cancer that had slowly consumed her over the last several years, and breathed her last breath in this Earthly life.
I never met Sandra. The one time our paths might have crossed when I was a new bride, she was visiting her family in Brazil for only time during her marriage. I never spoke to Sandra. Communication was difficult as Sandra spoke Arabic and Portuguese and me only English and some pidgin-Arabic.
And yet Sandra in a certain way, Sandra was the sister of my soul.
When my mother-in-law came to stay with us after we had our first child, Sandra was the mother that my mother-in-law encouraged me to aspire to be.
As I am living here, separated by time and space and language, it was Sandra, not me, who spent her days with my husband’s mother.
For my husband’s mother – a mother of five children of her own – Sandra was the child of her heart.
It was Sandra to whom she could cling when all her children were forced to leave the economic devastation of a country ravaged by war and corruption to make their way in the world away from home.
And now, during this Holy Season of Advent, just as the child Jesus will be placed in the manger, Sandra will be laid to rest.
On this Eve before Christmas, when the world anticipates Christ’s birth, Sandra has reminded us of Christ’s true purpose on this Earth – His Death.
For Christ was not born to live. He, through the mystery of the Holy Trinity, being the Creator of the Universe, already had eternal and everlasting life. So, there was no call for God to demean Himself and become a helpless human man so that he could LIVE. He already had life WITHOUT birth.
Rather, God was born to this Earthly life to DIE – for us and for our sins – to redeem us.
And now, on this Eve of Christ’s birth this year, when so many of us are turned away from the Holy Sacrament of the Mass due to the various restrictions in our areas caused by this global pandemic – it gives me comfort to know that Sandra will not be turned away.
Thousands of years ago when the Angel appeared to the shepherds, and the wise men left their homes to follow a star to a young girl and her husband, who travelled by foot and upon a donkey, they went to witness not LIFE – but DEATH.
These chosen Holy few, who were turned away from the inn and forced to rest in a stable, were chosen to witness the sacrificial death of God made Man. And through that death, we pray that those dearly departed from us, those blessed ones who have gone before, are never turned away again.
Those who we love – those like Sandra – rest not in a stable now as God Himself did once – but rest in the Holy and eternal Kingdom of God.
For through HIS death WE have life.
It was unto this that He was born.
For with prayers for Sandra and all the dearly departed, everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.