Justorum animae

wheelchair-boyJustorum animae in manu Dei sunt, et non tanget illos tormentum mortis. Visi sunt oculis insipientium mori, illi autem sunt in pace.

These are the words that came into my mind as I saw this amazing gravestone on Facebook, and then looked for better views. This little boy was born with severe disabilities and was only expected to live for a few hours. He lived for nearly eleven years with his loving family, and this sculpture is a testimony of the parents’ faith.

A couple of days ago, there was a discussion of Gnosticism on this blog. I have really come to the understanding that organised Christianity represents a continuum between the extremes of gnosticism and materialism, the latter representing the view that Christ only come to teach us what some of the more obnoxious “politically correct” ecologists and socialists preach from their ivory towers.

I am a Christian and a priest, but yet have the same doubts and sceptical culture as most of our contemporaries. Sometimes, our failing faith needs comfort either from rational evidence or from a testimony of such sublimity. This is an example of the latter.

The atheists and materialists want us to believe that everything is dead matter and that life is just a series of electrical and mechanical reactions in biological organisms. Materialism brings its believers to the conclusion that nothing has any meaning, that we do well not to care about anything, believe that our loved ones cease to exist at death. Even “anti-gnostic” Christians can only conceive of the soul / spirit in union with the body, and “liberal” Christians speculate about the disembodied soul being devoid of personality. The soul becomes “fragmented”, returns to the all, and continues in an unknown way. Or does it?

The message conveyed by this grave is glorious, joyful and filled with hope. It gives meaning to that boy’s brief life in a body that was such a burden on earth. This testimony brings us to face the possibility of life without the material organism we call the body and brain. Christians often tell us to take faith for granted, but I am sure that there is not a sincere Christian who has not had doubts. One thing we have to know is that: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

A couple of sentences from the boy’s obituary say it all:

He was a testament to the supreme divinity of the soul and an embodiment of the completeness our spirits yearn for. The godliness of his soul inspired, influenced and blessed all who knew him. He came into this world as a miracle and left this world as a miracle.

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7 Responses to Justorum animae

  1. ed pacht says:

    Thank you!
    I’m still trembling from the joy-in-tragedy of this image. Speechless.

  2. Dale Crakes says:

    Interesting grouping Fr. Ecologists and socialists equate to materialists. That said the faith and hope of the tombstone are beautiful.

    • That being said, I do distinguish between different ecologisms and different socialisms. Myself, I care about the environment and the well-being of the less well-off, but some do indeed equate to materialists. I don’t mind your being frank with me.

  3. My faith is strengthened every time I am touched by someone else’s hope. Thank you.

  4. Dale Crakes says:

    The States in the last decade or so have become “white” gasoline political tinderboxes with respect to certain words.

  5. James Morgan, Olympia WA USA says:

    Having worked with the ‘developmentally disabled for a number of years, I applaud your post, Father! Even the most ‘crippled’ can teach us things that we need to know, to be fully human ourselves. And in the end, we will all be given perfection, even the least of us! Deo gratias!

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