I had just written to a friend that it was over. The hundreds of books sold in a month, the flurry of interviews on radio and television — all things of the past. My book was in the publisher’s bargain bin, I told her, and I hadn’t received any interview requests in a year. The sense of ending didn’t give me any sadness or disappointment — it’s just part of the natural lifecycle of any book.
And then, a couple of days later, the phone rang.
Barbara McGuigan, formerly of EWTN radio, rang my house to invite me onto her new show Fight for Life, on Virgin Most Powerful Radio. Would I be able to do the interview next week, she asked me, to fill in for a cancellation? Absolutely! Another thing to be thankful for this upcoming Thanksgiving: the reminder that I’ve been given an ongoing mission.
Just as you have, dear reader.
Endings, Beginnings, Constants
On my eighth blogging anniversary, I find it very appropriate to reflect upon endings, beginnings, and constants. This blog has been a constant in my life for the last eight years. Interestingly, it almost feels like I’ve been blogging for much longer. You know how some things become such a part of your life that they just feel like they have always been in your life? Writing is a constant for me, and this blog has become a natural — and even personally necessary — outlet.
Thanks to the messages that I’ve received from readers all around the world, I know that my book has touched many hearts. I am in awe of this and need nothing more from my little book in order to make me happy and thankful that I wrote it. God is good. The phone call from Barbara McGuigan showed me, however, that God isn’t done with me yet, that my particular mission is ongoing.
Which means that my new book, “my conversion story, well-padded,” as I’ve come to call it, needs to truly begin taking on substantial form. Even as I am allowed another interview for my old book, I know that it’s time for a new beginning.
A Cosmic Perspective
Our young parochial vicar, Fr. David, gave an illuminating homily on last Sunday’s readings. As the liturgical year of the Catholic Church comes to an end, we read about the end times from the Bible. In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus declares,
“In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.”[i]
Fr. David explained how this prediction has (at least) three layers of meaning, exploring three events, each one cosmically significant, part of God’s Divine Plan. There are three endings, if you will, that open up three beginnings.
The first is Jesus’s crucifixion and death on the Cross. When this happened, the sky darkened across the land and the Earth shook. We believe that Jesus rose from the dead, that the end of His earthly life enabled the Resurrection, the beginning of Salvation, resurrection and eternal life for all who follow God’s way.
The second is the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. In the Hebrew calculations of a generation, about 40 years after Jesus’s death and resurrection, the holiest place for the chosen people of God was destroyed. This destruction was terrible and seemed like a horrific ending, but it signified a beginning. The worship of the one, true, living God was opened up to all people in His Universal Church.
The third is the inevitable end of Earth, even of our galaxy and the universe entire. This world cannot last forever. But its natural destruction opens up new existence, the life of the World to Come, in which will be the General Resurrection and the fulfillment of heavenly bliss.
This is what we Christians believe. This is what I believe. Through these endings and beginnings, the constant is God, who has no beginning and no end.
In our own little lives, we suffer mini deaths and participate in mini resurrections. A beautiful apple blossom withers and dies, but its delicious fruit is born forth. In 2017, I experienced much pain, fatigue, and fear, my life threatened by pneumonia among other things, but this experience began in me the true determination and ability to write It’s Good to Be Here. Even in the horrendous loss of a loved one to death, we know that it is the person’s physical presence and earthly life that we are mourning painfully — but we believe that this mourning will give way to unending gladness, because we believe that the death is the beginning of our loved one’s eternal life, a life that we will share when our new lives begin. And the constant all through, all through the ebb and flow we experience in our lives, is God’s love.
No one wants the ending of a good thing. Jesus begged, in agony, not to drink the cup of His crucifixion — He didn’t want to experience the destruction of the Temple of His body. But endings will come in this life. Through Christ, however, we are assured that endings lead to beginnings and, as Jesus, who is the Word of God, God Incarnate, declares, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”[ii]
Concluding this post as the Feast of Christ the King approaches, I thank God for the ability to write, for this blog, and for all of you, my dear readers. I thank God for the glory of His Creation and for His unending love for each and every one of us. I pray that I will trust God completely whenever an ending comes in my life (gulp) and look forward with faith, hope, and love to a new beginning — in the constancy of divine love.
© 2021 Christina Chase
[i] Mark 13:24-27
[ii] Mark 13:31
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.