The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is a place to which thousands of pilgrims flock every day to see what isn’t there.
It is quite amusing, in fact, to wait in line for hours in order to see a place that you know to be empty.
Life is filled with a great many paradoxes. It is a paradox that the cross, which was an instrument of torture, became an instrument of divine reconciliation and the most enduring symbol of Christian faith. It is a paradox that the empty tomb became the sign of the fullness of Christian hope – that we “will not all die, but we will all be changed” and that “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
Is it really possible to blog about death in a way that is consistently uplifting and enlivening every single day of the year?
It’s certainly a challenge.
And is it possible to tell edifying stories about the difficult, messy, and painful realities of life with grit and sincerity?
Not only is it possible. It’s vitally necessary.
Thomas Aquinas died on this date 747 years ago. Accordingly, I decided to see what came up first with a quick search about Aquinas on death. I was led to the Summa Theologiae and, specifically, to Question 69 on “Matters concerning the resurrection, and first of the place where souls are after death.”
During his lifetime, Thomas Aquinas considered many questions that most people would never consider at all. Take, for example, Article 4 of Question 69 in which he asks: “Whether the limbo of hell is the same as Abraham’s bosom?”
I had not heard (or didn’t particularly recall hearing) of “Abraham’s bosom” but a detailed Wikipedia article discusses the concept as it appears in the Bible, Jewish and Christian history, and religious art and literature.
Today marks the first anniversary of the death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
Much has been said and written about the faith of the family, and there is something that I find remarkably demonstrative of that faith in the speech Vanessa Bryant delivered at a memorial.
In her 20-minute speech about her husband and daughter, Vanessa Bryant alternated, in a subtle way that seemed very deliberate, sincere, and full of faith, between speaking in the past and present tense.