“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” // John 6:40
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” my aunt’s voice rang out that April afternoon as the family lingered around my grandmother’s gravesite. Soon my father, my sister, and the rest of our voices joined hers. My tears welled up yet again in my leaky eyes. My grandmother had survived breast cancer only to die from lymphoma several years later in her mid-seventies. While I had always been close with her, my family started attending the same parish as her my first year of high school, and, in the close-knit parish, I saw her deep love of the Lord.
Practical by nature, she contrived to raise her seven children on a tight budget so her photographer husband could do work he loved. My last conversation with her was my winter break of my freshman year of college. She tried to talk me out of studying theology so that I could go into a more lucrative field. Yet, when she passed away a few months later, I trusted that she finally understood that I was meant to study what I loved.
She died the morning of April 2, 2005, just hours before Pope Saint John Paul II. At the all-campus Mass in honor of JPII at Franciscan University of Steubenville, we sang the song Press On by Bob Filoramo. I felt in my heart that it was about my grandmother as well as the pope who “fought the good fight” and who succeeded to “press on in running the race.” But I also saw the “Father dancing” for her who returned to Him after her purgatory of cancer. I do not know if she was in Heaven then, but I do know that passing into purgatory is one way to the beatific vision.
In her life, my grandmother saw the Son, believed in Him, and I hope, through the Lord’s great mercy, to see her beside Him on the last day. Sister, the Lord wills for us to know, love, and serve Him. Pray today for Him to increase your faith so that you can be raised by Him on the last day.The Lord wills for us to know, love, and serve Him. // Susanna Spencer Click To Tweet