George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and The Afterlife

I was stunned, as was most of the world was when I heard about the passing of George Michael on Christmas day.  Michael possessed enormous talent was and one of the most successful acts in the 1980's and early 90's

Shortly after Carrie Fisher died.  Fisher was famous for her legendary role as princess Leia from the Star Wars movies.  Strangely her mother also died the day after.

2016 was a notable year for celebrity deaths.

Some names include Prince, Glenn Frey, David Bowie,  Doris Roberts, Alan Rickman, and Muhammad Ali.

As a Catholic these deaths got me thinking about the transient nature of life and the inevitability of death.

Marcus Aurelius, the stoic, emperor, philosopher king wrote about the passing nature of life as he reflected, "Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."

Even though I agree mostly with Aurelius's quote his reflection is only partially true.

As a Catholic, I believe that there is more to life than dying.

Without sounding too morbid death can be viewed as a faithful friend who encourages one to live meaningfully each day. Death is life's great equalizer.  Every person will encounter it; rich, poor, great, humble, evil, virtuous, famous or not so famous.

As a Catholic, I believe in the afterlife. I believe in a heaven and a hell.  I know that these terms sound like medieval inventions, but they are very real.  Atheists and materialists contend that these constructs are all myths and fables invented in more superstitious times.I strongly disagree with them. There are many truths in the universe which can't be seen or understood, yet we accept them as truth.  (Think of Albert Einstein's famous equation E=MC2.)

Let's start with heaven.

Heaven is much more than white clouds, pearly gates, and flying angels. Heaven according to the Catholic tradition is a state of perfect unity with God.  It is the greatest, most sublime existence that one can ever hope for.  It is a place of perfect peace without any pain.  To get a small idea imagine the happiest moment in your life and times that by a million, with that moment never ending. This is only a small, minuscule example about the never-ending joy that one will encounter in heaven.

Now let's talk about hell.

Hell is the opposite of heaven.  Hell isn't just a fiery oven.  Hell is total separation from God, who is the source of all good.  The pain of hell isn't confined just by fire; it is a place of absolute desolation and utter torment. The worst part of hell is the fact that the person will never encounter God for eternity.  This is tragic because God is the source of all that is good.  Once a person is in hell they will never experience God's goodness forever.

As a Catholic, I believe that Jesus gives each person the opportunity to choose heaven or hell. Each person has this choice. Ideally, God wants everyone in heaven; to the greatest saint to the worst sinner.

I don't want to conjecture nor speculate about where George Michael and Carrie Fisher are now. It isn't my place to do so. That is between them and God. It is my greatest hope, however, that they are both in heaven, living a new life much greater than any experience here on earth.


Popular Posts