Respect Life

In the northern hemisphere, October begins the transition from the warm days of summer sun to the long winter’s rest.  The transition is not sudden, as we move slowly from one season to the next.  The transition is presented to us through the splendor of God’s creation.  We are presented with the beautiful colors of the changing leaves before our eyes, the acorns being stored away for the long winter’s sleep and the smells of fall telling us to prepare for the time when everything goes to sleep. 

Our senses allow us to appreciate God’s creation and we are reminded of how unique this world of ours truly is.  It was created for us, His children, to experience life and honor Him until the time that we are called to be with Him in paradise.  It is in our appreciation of this gift that we are also commanded by God to respect all life, regardless of where and at what stage that gift of life is presented to us. 

At this point you may be wondering what Catholic cemeteries has to do with respecting life and my response is simply, everything.  When we bury our deceased loved ones, we express our respect for the life they lived regardless of the length of time God granted us the gift of that person’s life.  When parents come to us to bury their baby that died in the mother’s womb, we bury the fetus in the baby section and provide the family with a memorial because as Catholic cemeterians, all life, regardless of the time spent on this beautiful home entrusted to us by God, is deserving of respect.

Our natural world is filled with beauty, but God also allows the world to move forward without interference.  We are granted the freedom to live our lives with the goal of attaining His gracious gift of eternal life in paradise.  Each of us knows the path to paradise; Jesus gave us the map when He told us to love God above all else and love thy neighbor as thyself. 

Our cemeteries are places where we celebrate the lives we cherish and are reminded of the final reward.

Harvesting the Good that has been Sown

The sights and smells of fall are upon us.  We are witnesses to the wonders of our natural world as farmers begin harvesting that which was sown earlier in the year.  All that hard work performed in planting the seeds and nurturing the growing plants, leads to the joy of a bountiful harvest.  God’s gift of this world is an amazing thing to experience.  We see this gift in the relationships that we grow with each other.  


Our senses allow us to enjoy more fully the bounty of persons we are connected to as we plant the seeds of each relationship.  We nurture those relationships over time and treasure the harvest of our experiences.  Sometimes, the seed that is planted sprouts quickly and the time to harvest is short, but the sweetness of the fruit remains.


It is often difficult for us to comprehend why the gift of life in some circumstances may last for a very short amount of time.  In one instance, the joy ended before we met.  For another close to me, the joy lasted 11 minutes.  The profound impact that those short lives had on us continue and it is up to each of us to harvest the beauty of that life sown by God and part of the harvest that is Heaven.   


I know the impact those 11 minutes had on me over 20 years ago and have learned to appreciate the harvest of eternal life through the short life of a little angel.  Whether it is 11 minutes, 14 years or 104, each life is sown by God and it is up to each of us to nurture that seed and harvest every moment until the final harvest of eternal life.  

God bless,


Andrej Lah

Love

Love is a word said without hesitation when we are with someone that we hold deep in our heart.  It is a word, an emotion, a devotion, and a sacrifice.  The month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and when I look to the Blessed Mother, what I see is love.  Mary so loved God that she accepted without question her motherhood and in her humanity, she touches each of us.  Her love for God is seen in the fire surrounding her Immaculate Heart and we see her love for Jesus in the sword which shows to each of us the pain of watching her beloved Son tortured and nailed to a cross.  

We often see Mary through the many artists’ depictions.  Whether it is the Assumption, the Pieta or the many statues placed so reverently in our Catholic churches, we see the Mother of God.  Just for a moment I ask each of you to see her as a mom, raising a son and hoping as parents do, that He find happiness in life.  This mom was destined to watch her Son travel a different path, one that ended in her at the foot of a cross.  Her sacrifice, and willingness to accept God’s plan is an example of pure love.    

Each of us suffers the loss of someone we love, but the beauty of love is that it does not die.  Love continues in our hearts and in our memories shared with the person who is no longer physically with us.  Most importantly, love keeps us connected until the time that we are reunited in paradise.  Our Blessed Mother’s love and her humanity connect us to her and through Jesus we are shown God’s love for us.  The path to paradise is clear and love is the key.   

God Bless,

Andrej Lah

President / CEO

   

Renewal during Ordinary Time… In the midst of not so ordinary times…

“For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)


The season of summer, which follows spring’s bursting forth of new life and growth, brings to mind nature’s strength. July is filled with warm sunny days (except in northeast Ohio), summer fun, family vacations and camp. Graduation parties are winding down and thoughts of the new school year are slowly making their way into the conversation.  As these events come and go, those who are suffering a loss are reminded that life continues regardless of the broken heart they carry along the way. 

The renewal and strength that is associated with summer can also bring hope. Let us try to accept the responsibility of bringing that hope to our neighbors. As we continue the steady march toward some level of normalcy, we are called to renew relationships and to open our hearts to each other. As we renew our relationships, let us place an emphasis on renewing our relationship and devotion to Jesus.  Our Lord and Savior became Man to renew our relationship with God, and with the shedding of his Precious Blood, He opened the door once closed. Jesus willingly gave Himself over to shed His blood in a supreme act of love. This love He has for each of us, most evident as we celebrate the sacraments, is the true roadmap we use to find Him in paradise. 
 
Throughout the season of summer, while we slowly return to the ordinary lives we enjoyed pre-pandemic, we find ourselves reconnecting with friends and loved ones. We realize that many will be dealing with the pain of loss. At those summer parties, we smile despite the pain from the death of a loved one, but it is in the Precious Blood, shed for us, that our relationship with God is renewed and the path to paradise established. By accepting that His death and the shedding of His Precious Blood renews our relationship with God, we gain the gift of hope and the peace of knowing that paradise is within reach. 

God bless, 

Andrej Lah 

Ordinary Time

June, the beginning of summer, vacations, graduations, weddings, and other events that bring family and friends together.  As we celebrate all these events, it seems almost contradictory that this month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time.  There is nothing ordinary about Ordinary Time when it comes to our Catholic faith.   

Ordinary Time is when we celebrate Christ’s life and death and June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  In this time of the liturgical year the Church is donned in the color green as a symbol of hope of the resurrection.  We celebrate Christ’s life and death and through the image of the Sacred Heart, His love for each of us.  These symbols of new life and love inform us of Christ’s conquering death giving to each of us the gift of salvation and the hope of eternal life with Him in paradise.  

Many find it difficult to celebrate the events that are a part of the beginning of each summer.  Loss makes any celebration difficult.  In this month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, find comfort in knowing that God’s love for each of us is boundless.  Seek refuge in His pierced heart of Christ as it is in His suffering that He understands your pain and it is in His sacrifice that we find the gift of paradise.

God Bless   

Andrej N. Lah

President / CEO