One year ago today, April 22, 2015, my Dad, Thomas Michael Perna Sr., passed away due to complications with Crohn’s Disease, which he endured for many years. It was the hardest day of my life as well as one of the hardest years for my entire family.
I can honestly say that this past year has taught me more about myself than any other year previously. I have realized how life short truly is. I have realized that the Christian lifestyle is not a bed of roses (not that I thought this before), but a life with experiences of suffering. And although the culture will say to us that suffering is bad and we should avoid it at all costs, enduring my Dad’s death has helped me grow more in love with Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. The one saying that I try to embrace/apply to my life is the quote from Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, “Suffering is not a problem to be solved; it is a mystery to be lived.”
I wouldn’t wish the pain, the nights feeling alone, and the nights struggling to sleep (like right now…it’s in the 2am hour and I am awake) on my worst enemy. Maybe it’s coming across that I am contradicting myself when I say I try to endure suffering, but wish the pain wasn’t there. This is something contradictory about death since we are made for life. It’s hard to write and explain what the last year has been like unless you have also endured this type of loss yourself.
For someone who talks about life and death on a daily basis, this year has challenged me in ways that I never thought were possible. Although I miss my Dad immensely and not a day goes by that I don’t wish I had just more day with him, he has provided me so much to teach others with – either through this blog or in my position at the parish. It was always his desire that I would be able to do the things I am doing in my writing and in my position as a catechist and evangelist in the parish. The eulogy I gave at the vigil and viewing last year was just the beginning of what Dad gave me with his exodus from this side of Heaven.
So as we do with all those that go before us – we pray for them and ask them to pray for us. We offer Masses for them in the hopes that our prayers will bring them to Heaven as well as ask them to intercede for us when we need prayers. It’s my hope that Dad is in Heaven or at least making his way to Heaven. In the end, we all will endure this thing we call death. Let us hope that through Jesus’ Resurrection, we will come to know and see our resurrection in the life to come.
So with this being said, for today’s QLC, let’s briefly examine what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say on Death and the Resurrection of the Body –
“’The flesh is the hinge of salvation’ (Tertullian, De res. 8, 2:PL 2, 852). We believe in God who is creator of the flesh; we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh; we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment of both the creation and the redemption of the flesh.” [#1015]
“By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and lives for ever, so all of us will rise at the last day.” [#1016]
“‘We believe in the true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess’ (Council of Lyons II: DS 854). We sow a corruptible body in the tomb, but he raises up an incorruptible body, a ‘spiritual body’ (cf. 1 Cor 15:42-44). [#1017]
As a consequence of original sin, man must suffer ‘bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned’ (GS § 18). [#1018]
Jesus, the Son of God, freely suffered death for us in complete and free submission to the will of God, his Father. By his death he has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to all men. [#1019]
For a complete understanding of this topic, I would encourage you to also read paragraphs 988-1014, especially the paragraphs that speak about The meaning of Christian death.
On this day, I ask for prayers for the repose of the soul of my Dad, Thomas M. Perna, Sr. Thank you.
All Glory, Praise, and Thanksgiving to Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.