It wasn’t supposed to be this way…
How many times has this phrase been spoken when death comes too soon? Nevertheless, it is a statement of fact. God did not intend death. No experience of death can be naturally understood because in God’s natural order of creation death has no meaning. It is nothing more than life deprived. This is the experience that many of us today are experiencing with the death of a beautiful young soul a few weeks shy of his 25th birthday, whose smiling eyes always lit up the room. Whose never ending joy affected all who met him. It is the experience of his fiancé who was planning for her marriage but is now planning a funeral. A couple who took preparation for their marriage more seriously, I have never known.
Two days ago I was to begin with them, their formal marriage preparation program, a live trial of MAI’s marriage formation program. Early that morning I received the phone call from his fiancé telling me he had been killed in a hit-and-run accident a few hours earlier.
This would be a private meditation if it were not for the witness of faith demonstrated by this young couple. Within the unimaginable grief, both continue to witness to their love of Christ and trust in His Providence. This young man, in his short life, taught those who knew him, to be always thankful, to find joy in every little thing as a personal gift from God, to love Him and to love His Mother, Mary. This lesson continues to come forth in the many stories shared by his family and friends. It is a paradox that these lessons probably would have gone unshared, would have been left unrecognized without this tragedy.
His fiancé, amidst the tears, shared her received insight that in the grand scheme of things, nothing has changed with his early death. Their purpose for marriage was to work for the mutual salvation of one another, and this will continue. She will continue to pray for his sanctification and she is assured he is praying for hers. It is a vow they were never able to formally take as an office in the Church, but it is a private vow they will now keep between them.
No, it was not supposed to be this way but because this couple never took their eyes off the Cross, they are assured that somehow it will be much better than they could ever have imagined for themselves, but that they must follow their Master through the Cross to get there. Only the Cross gives meaning to death and suffering. The meaning of suffering and death for those in Christ is one of total, selfless love, of ineffable joy and of a peace only the LORD can give. Please pray for the repose of Chris’s soul and for strength, peace and comfort for Katherine and both their families. Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.