We have many good lessons to learn, through this tragic event…
Sunday morning, my youngest daughter came to me in tears, showing me her iPad and asking me if it was true! She really took me by surprise and was yelling at me to tell her. I asked her a few times before looking down, what? What? Is what true? She proceed to walk to my husband and show him and he picked up the TV remote, changed the channel and yes. It was true. Kobe Bryant was killed that morning in a horrific helicopter crash. My daughter was inconsolable. I held her as she cried, and asked her if she wanted to pray for him and we did together. My daughter is extremely sensitive when news breaks of anyone’s death.
She walked into her room sobbing while my husband, who happens to be an air traffic controller, and myself, sat in shock watching the news unfold. Later that day, hearing Kobe and his daughter attended Holy Mass, brought us all great comfort. We attended the evening Mass that day, and the Priest added Kobe and Gianna, his 13 year old daughter, along with all who had died in that horrific crash, in the prayers of the faithful. My daughter looked at me during that moment and smiled. She was at peace again.
First spiritual lesson to learn. I can not stress the importance of receiving our Lord in the Sacraments before we die. We never know when our Lord is going to take us home. If we become sick, or if we have sick loved ones, who are Catholic, PLEASE, before they slip into a condition to where they can not longer receive our Lord in the Eucharist, call a Priest to administer the Sacraments! There is a great post here on this subject: A Guide to the Last Rites May take this time for granted and wait until the loved one has already died, or is in a vegetative state. Please, the sooner the better that they may take our Lord with them on that final journey.
Getting back to the news of Kobe. I must admit, I am not a fan of basketball. Not even a fan as I was living in Chicago, when the Bulls took the Championship five times with Michael Jordan and the rest of the crew. What I am a huge fan of, is repenting sinners. Another spiritual lessons to learn in this, is repentance. In learning more about Kobe and his charities, his regular attendance of Holy Mass and even attending daily Mass, my heart leaped knowing he sure looked like a repenting soul to me. At that point in anyone’s life, the moment of repentance, turning back to our Lord, what we ONCE WERE, is no longer who we are at this moment. It’s gone, as we allow our Lord to build us into what He created us to be. Letting go of what we want to be, accepting the good and the bad. What our Lord has already forgiven, can no longer be held against us. The sin is gone, although the residual effect of the sin may remain. Its not easy to find souls in this society we are exiles in, willing to forgive us, as our Lord has. Holding on to His is forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation, hearing the words “I absolve you”, is key to moving through all society holds against the repenting soul, and not allowing the world to take away the joy of being forgiven, getting that second chance in life in Christ to do what is right and just again. Society often holds on to the bitterness, unable to move past others sins, because it lacks the ability to forgive and heal, although society (the world) could never be burdened with thinking of its own sins first.
It no longer mattered to me what he may have done, but my hope for him and all was what may be. His continuing the journey on into eternal life with our Lord.
Another spiritual lesson to be learned, is not constantly looking at the ugliness of one another, and finding the good in each soul. Anyone can see the dirt in their neighbor, be the one who finds the gold. We must remember that what we hold against our neighbors, will be held also against us. We are called to forgive as we have been forgiven. We are called to see the good in others, and not continually focus on the bad. A repenting soul, knows their own sins and do not need others to help them remember them, especially when they have already been forgiven. I’m not saying Kobe is a Saint, although I hope he is, as that is a judgement left to our Lord. What I am saying is he definitely was working on his salvation, while he was still here. That is another key to our salvation. We live the faith now, repent now, so not to regret later. Eternal life begins in this life. CS Lewis said: ‘Die before you die, there is no chance after.’
I pray for everyone, during this tragedy, to remember the words our Lord spoke, directly after teaching us how to pray:
I hope others see how important it is to forgive as we ourselves have been forgiven.
I pray for the souls of all who have lost their lives in this horrific tragedy, and I also hope that more souls, still here, can see the joy of repentance and forgiveness and begin eternal life, now. Lord have mercy on us all.
Prayer for The Eternal Rest
Eternal rest grant unto them,
O Lord, and let perpetual light
shine upon them. May the souls
of all the faithful departed, through
the mercy of God, rest in peace.