I’m beginning to like my fuzzy moon pictures. They have an interesting . . . charm.
“Moon lines.” Looks like a black and white Jupiter on edge.
I’ve got some “end of the year” resolutions to take care of soon. I’ve got to accept my good friend’s offer to teach me something about photography. Then I have to install my new editing software so I can do useful things with the photos.
I’ve got to get serious about getting my summer and fall clothes packed away and my winter clothes out and ready — and sewn!
I need a couple new vests. Here’s fuzzy black velvety one almost made. I had to create the yellow tissue paper pattern so the vest will come out with the right shape and length. The sewing up will go fast but I need to bring this winter wardrobe issue to an end.
I need to do the end-of-the-year holiday planning, company, decorating, parties.
Lots of things are coming to an end now. Autumn chores. NASCAR. Football season.
You can learn a lot about life from football –
After all, the whole game is a series of drives and the goal is getting to the “end” zone. (The Bears made it this time!!)
And today we arrived at another end, the end of the Liturgical Year:
We’ve come full circle, and have finished up the green patch at about 11:00, or 11:30. 11:59, actually. Next Sunday we will be in the blue.
It’s an orderly way of keeping track of time, which at the same time instructs us in keeping track of our journey throughout the year, with Our Savior, as the major events of our Faith unfold, one after the other.
It’s like a circular timeline. And when we reach the end of the year, the 11:59, so to speak, it’s appropriate to think more on those all-important “Four Last Things” which we all will confront, at the “end” of our time on earth.
I’m sure you’ve thought of them throughout the year, perhaps without even realizing that these are “end time considerations” that are common to all. The Four Last Things are: Death. Judgment. Heaven. Hell.
Obviously, we’ll be intimately caught up in only three of those Four Last Things.
We all have common experiences with these things.
Death. Perhaps you’ve known someone who has died this past year. Or almost. Or perhaps you had a close brush with death. What might have, could have happened, if you didn’t get lucky.
Judgment. Those twinges of guilt, self-judgment, an “oops, I shouldn’t have done that.” All fundamentally pointing to the existential certainty that we will experience our last and final judgment. Perhaps you think it will be a glorified self-judgment. But, nevertheless, the judgment will result in . . .
Hell. Perhaps. You probably heard Hell referenced at least a few times during this past year without really thinking about it. Someone nearby curses: “Oh, Hell!” “Damn!” It’s a curse word because . . . well, it’s a curse that is a reality. It’s just that we don’t often “think about it.” Why is the entire human race so “fallen”? So damned?
Heaven. A hoped-for glorious End, but one which we’re entirely incapable of producing by ourselves.
Incapable: Remember the miners in South America who were trapped by a massive cave-in? All escape routes solidly blocked. They had little water, very little food, no electricity, no light. 33 men trapped deep below ground. And they were incapable of getting out of there.
They had no way of knowing that a multi-national effort was underway to attempt to reach them.
But weeks went by. Weeks with not enough provisions, not much oxygen.
How do you think they passed that time, knowing they could not help themselves out of that deepest, darkest pit?
69 days later! It took 69 days to reach them, and miraculously all the men were still alive.
Help had come from Above, by means of which the miners did not have, by efforts that the miners were incapable of accomplishing. Can you imagine how beautiful the sunlight must have seemed to them? And they saw the Light and lived again!
The Fourth Last Thing: Heaven. Available for us, by means of the Cross reaching down to us and reaching out wide to all mankind.
Advent, next Sunday, begins that process.