Someone handed me a sad obituary today. I never read the obituaries. In fact, I'm not sure if I have ever read one.
This particular one is for a 93 year old woman named Mary Agnes. After talking about her extravagant trips around the world and her pilgrimages to Las Vegas, it says:
"Mary Agnes was a very straightforward and candid person who could cause great frustration and grief to those around her. She did not accept the saying, "life isn't perfect" especially when it came to her life, in which creature comforts played a major role. But she could also be very generous and caring, was a devout Catholic and devoted to the Blessed Mother and the Rosary. Many times she appeared selfish and self-centered, but this behavior was mainly insecurity about being loved. Now enjoying the infinite love of God Almighty, hopefully she is saving us a place at the table of the Lord, a setting of true perfection."
A few observations:
1. Usually when someone dies, only good things are said about them. You have to be a real jerk to have someone actually tell the truth about you in an obituary. From this short paragraph about Mary, we learn that she caused grief to those she loved, she was consumed with comforts, she was selfish and self-centered, and she was insecure.
2. The writer of this paragraph justifies several sins with another sin. She was selfish and self-centered because she was insecure about being loved. In other words, the sin of selfishness is ok so long as it is built on insecurity. An insecurity that manifested itself to those around her may be the most serious sin in this paragraph.
3. The writer of this paragraph believes that Mary is in Heaven "enjoying" Christ. Now, God may have saved Mary in her final days. We do not pass final judgment on people's souls. However, if all we have to go on is this short paragraph, Mary is not enjoying the love of God, she is anguishing under the wrath of God. Why do humans do this? Why do we hide behind this kind of false assurance? Bottom line: She lived like the devil yet we want to believe she is now with God. When we do this, we communicate that the gospel is not true. If Mary is in Heaven, then why even try to please God? He is so loving that He will accept us no matter how we live.
4. May we live in such a way that the truth is spoken about us at our death. And, may the truth be: He/She ordered his/her life around Jesus Christ.