If you died tomorrow, where would you go?

pearls

Life is a funny thing.

That we can inhale and exhale, consume food and drink, create things with our hands, think things with our brains, witness beauty with our eyes, take in the scents of our surroundings, or choose to walk left or walk right is a funny reality, is indeed very strange.

Of course, it’s entirely normal as we experience it. But at the same time, all of those things which are so easily taken for granted are really quite peculiar. Our lives are constantly in motion. From the moment of our conception, at least some part of our being remains constantly–voluntarily or involuntarily–moving.

What’s more, our lives are in a constant state of alteration. Though much of it is gradual, like learning to walk or spending years in school, significant portions of our lives will undergo sudden–even violent–change, even (at times) to the point of death.

An example: The family in which I’ve grown up in has been blessed with mostly good health. Two of my four grandparents are still living, with the two deceased having gone gradually, a result of slowly depreciating health. But in mid-July 2012, I had cracked a beer and was headed out to enjoy the evening sun on my parents’ patio when the phone rang. On the other end was news that my mom’s aunt, on her drive to see a play and visit us, had been in a car accident and died.

It was a jarring time, to say the least, but as some years have passed it’s caused me to stop and ponder every now and again the life we’ve been given; more importantly how quickly it can end and what that means for how we ought to spend the time in between.

I’ve always liked the Garth Brooks song “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” mainly because Garth is the man. But also because the first half of the chorus provides a striking parallel to the spiritual life and addresses this very question rather poignantly:

If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her?
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she’s my only one?

Replacing the woman in this scenario with God, it’s a sobering thought for anyone, and is especially so for us Christians. While salvation is a free gift from God (yes, Catholics believe this too), it’s the work that we do — the attitude of our interior life, how we act toward others — that puts us in a state to allow us to decide whether we desire heaven – eternity with God – or desire (according to our actions) hell – eternity without God.

Questions like, “Do my choices matter?” or “What choices do matter?” or “Is there something waiting for us after we die?” are asked by children, or by good buddies around a fire after a few beers too many, but how often is it something that we really think about in a sober and mature state?

Ask yourself: When was the last time you sat for even 5 minutes and thought about nothing but what would happen to you if you died tomorrow?

If it hasn’t been recently, it’s probably worth it to do that now.

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A Look (in GIFs) at What Jesus Experienced in His Human Nature

Jesus is one Person who bears two natures — human and divine. What that means is that Jesus, while still fully God, was also fully human in his earthly life, through his bodily ascension into heaven, and even now still (He’s God, he can totally do that).

Although a personal encounter with Jesus is something every Christian strives for (or ought to be striving for), I would bet that few of us fully comprehend or have ever pondered just what that human nature of Christ entailed.

Sure, Jesus never sinned, but he was tempted, and he did have to grow from infancy, through the teenage years, into adulthood before assuming His place at the right hand of the Father. So, here’s a little look into some things Jesus probably did and exhibited during his earthly life (in GIFs):

1. Jesus was an adorable little baby.

Source: Tumblr
Source: Tumblr

“Amen, Amen I say to you, googoo gaga.”

2. Jesus “fall down go boom”  cute-adorable-toddler-falls-on-ice-walking

He probably didn’t have that sweet snowsuit, though.

3. Jesus smiled at Mary with food on His face. baby smile

Was it a seamless bib? We’ll never know…

4. Jesus had to learn how to walk. baby learn walk

And THEN he had to learn to walk on water.

5. Jesus giggled at silly things. laughing

Jury’s still out on which of His friends had a lightning scar on their forehead.

6. Child Jesus needed saving from harm, and St. Joseph saved the day. 1369070969_dad_catches_kid_flying_off_swing

No wonder God put him in charge.

7. Jesus played in the yard with his family. funniest-kid-gifs-dizzy-soccer-kick

St. Joseph: Terror of Demons and Spinner of Children

8. Jesus enjoyed the company of animals. Like chickens… Kid-Hugs-Chicken And puppies… Puppy-Licking-Michael-Scotts-Nose 9. Jesus loved the beauty of nature. ron

I mean, He did create it after all…

10. Jesus loved spending time with His friends.

Cory_and_Shawn

11. Jesus laughed.

laugh michael scottjohn candy laugh

12. Jesus cried.

crying leocrying pippin

13. Jesus got angry (righteously).

knope angry

the face…

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…and the flip.

Jesus probably did it way better than Thor, though

14. Jesus got annoyed by things.

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Does this count as annoying?

15. Jesus had to deal with the deaths of people He loved.

forrest

Food for Thought: Mary & Joseph had to teach Jesus about death.

16. But in the midst of hardship, Jesus didn’t despair.

aragorn

Basically, the things we experience, as humans, on a daily basis — Jesus literally knows what that’s like. That was the whole point in His coming to earth by taking on a fully human nature — so that He could walk with us, live with us, and (eventually) redeem our fallen nature through his suffering, death, and Resurrection.

It’s likely more difficult now than it ever has been to fathom how God could possibly know what we’re going through. What’s more, we’re often driven to believe that God can’t care about us or can’t be all-loving when He seems to put us or others through bouts of incredible suffering, loss, and difficulty.

However, we can (and should) find solace and great comfort in knowing that any hardship we’re asked to weather in our lives, God has experienced Himself. Through scourging, beatings, carrying the cross, and crucifixion — the greatest of all suffering — Jesus took our suffering onto Himself and gave it redemptive power.

He tells us not to be afraid, and, as the John Michael Talbot song goes, “I go before you always. Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.” We can trust Jesus, because, in His humanity, He suffered first, going before us in the way of the Cross to show us that suffering can be redeemed.

This Holy Week, we ought to contemplate the profoundly human qualities of Our Lord, and through them strive to become more like Jesus in every part of our lives.

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