September 15, 2015

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

With the passing of my mother, Louise Logan, yesterday from life to death to life again, the age old question surfaces for me. What actually happens when we die? We know of Easter and Jesus’ return as our Risen Lord. He has affirmed that there is life after death, but this next life we understand as a concept. What is the experience? What concretely can we say happens? I want certainty, but it is denied us. Instead, God is evasive and seems to say, “Wait until your time. Then you will understand.”

This is why faith is so important. In this earthly life God calls us to live into his mystery. It is unknown and beyond our control. We are left with glimpses, shadows of what is ahead. We want magic where we are amazed at what we see but know there is a trick—a certain explanation—that is behind the amazement. Mystery is much more complex. God is present and in control, but we can hardly begin to fathom what he is about and how he plans and nurtures our lives both now and beyond death. Through faith we are to trust in a wonderful outcome and know God will provide in his own time and ways.

A nautical metaphor is useful. We have been a long time on land. We know its contours, climate and people. As our lives approach death, we enter a seaworthy vessel and push out into open water. We look back at the coastline of familiar land. In time it disappears, and we move further into a watery world with our vessel enveloped in mist and fog. We look to the sea in anticipation of finding a distant land. We strain our eyes and ponder, is there anything out there? Finally, slowly, something appears. As we get closer the excitement rises. We have arrived in a new world, and Jesus greets us at the beach ready to show us the way!

Let us give thanks for the faithful departed and the many good examples they left us. With faith in the mysteries he provides, may God bless each of us on this remarkable journey we call life! With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,