Episode 205: Unforeseen

It’s not an abstraction! It’s more than something just to talk about or consider. It could happen to you. In fact, it probably will.

Electric_Prunes_-_I_Had_Too_Much_to_Dream_(Last_Night)I’m talking about unforeseen death. Some people hold on for a long time, even when they don’t really want to. Other people want to hold on, but illness intervenes and they go a dozen years earlier than they expected. (You never expect it.) Other people had a bad habit in youth and maybe adulthood, and it catches them later. They never thought they would be hooked up to a respirator personally.

“I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night” (Electric Prunes, 1967): That is, I thought I was coughing myself to death. A habitual “nervous” cough turned into an atomic reaction and I suffocated. Sweet Dreams Are Made of This?

“Are You Ready?”: Bob Dylan asked in 1980. “No”, I might answer, in 2015. “But I’d like to be.”

Sunday after Sunday I hear sermons that seem completely to sidestep the one really big reason a person would go to church. John Wesley never sidestepped it. Nor did Luther. St. Ignatius didn’t, either. Don’t you.

Episode 206: The Rich Man and Lazarus

I keep getting requests for a sort of “early morning Bible study” — giving the ‘treatment’, you might say, to a New Testament text that stings, and also helps. So that’s what I’ll do for a few episodes, beginning with this one.

large_lZW3ixC13yJljIFUXfj3LVQ3LuiChrist’s Parable of the Rich Man (aka ‘Dives’) and Lazarus is given in St. Luke, Chapter 16. It’s a scorcher, as rough and sand-paper-like as anything he ever said. It’s got that devastating line, that between there (hell) and here (heaven) there is a great gulf fixed, an impassable, untraversable barrier.

I believe this. (My own experience confirmed it, tho’ I wish it hadn’t!) That being the case, that “when you die, the time for doing is over” (Fr. Richard Ragni), what does it mean for a person in practice? Well, it mandates a careful review of your true situation: who do you think you are, and where are you? (Listen, I’m with you: would rather not deal! No, no, no. Just give me a new DVD daily, like Return of the Fly or Billion Dollar Brain — there are always new blessings like Billion Dollar Brain waiting for you (you’ll never run out even if you live forever) — and I’m set.

Unfortunately, I’m not set. For no one knoweth the hour. Don’t delay. Billion Dollar Brain (1967) you can put off. Your stroke, your heart attack you can’t.

Have a Panic Attack instead. Based on this podcast.