A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hating goodbyes

In today's first reading (Acts 20:17-27), St. Paul bids farewell to the elders (presbyters) of the church in the area of Ephesus.

It is a dramatic leave-taking, centered on Paul's frank statement that they would not see him again. The reaction of the elders would be severely emotional (as recounted at the end of the chapter - verses 37-38b).

And they all wept sore,
and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,

Sorrowing most of all
for the words which he spake,
that they should see his face no more.

Most of us do not want to have goodbyes like this. "I hate goodbyes," some say. We do not want to experience the pain of parting, of loss, and the knowledge that a special loved one will never be physically in our lives again.

Yet there are worse pains to dread and infinitely worse goodbyes to avoid.

Paul knows this and so he stands before his friends clear-eyed and totally focused on the path Christ has laid before him in this world.

Paul looks back at the path behind him, at his ministry among the people of Ephesus, secure in his faithfulness to the Lord. Paul also looks at the path ahead and the afflictions that abide there for him, secure in the Lord's faithfulness to him.

We need to pray always for the grace of that security, the security of our Lord and Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we may fear neither goodbyes nor afflictions, but may always be faithful in serving Christ, his truth, and our brothers and sisters in the Lord.