Heart

The heart is an amazing part of our body in both the physical and metaphysical. In the physical, the heart sustains life in every beat, and in the metaphysical, it is compassionate and feels the pain of loss. It is both a muscle and an emotion. Without the heart, the body fails and life cannot be sustained. When considering the miracle of the human heart, one cannot deny the miracle of God’s intent. He created each of us and gave us a heart that sustains us physically and drives our emotional connection to each other and by extension the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and it is the physical heart, wounded by the spear meant to end His life, and the heart wounded emotionally through the intense love for each of us. We must allow ourselves to focus on the Sacred Heart and accept that connection to His divinity. God sent us His Son, our Savior, and gave Him a physical heart that sustained Him as He delivered the message of redemption.  The duality of His heart can be seen in His passionate love for every one of us. It does not matter to the Son of God if you are the Samaritan woman at the well, the tax collector or the thief seeking forgiveness. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is connected to every person sent by God and entrusted to a mother and father through the miracle of conception and that connection remains intact as we find ourselves traversing the boundary between this world and the next. 

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, wounded by love, is God’s gift to humanity. It is the wounded heart of Jesus that brings God closer to our human emotions and the pain we feel when a loved one dies. Through the Sacred Heart, we are connected to God emotionally and it is in our relationship with Him that our pain can find some relief. God sent His only Son to open the gates to paradise and all we need to do is accept Him into our hearts. As modernists seek to replace God and try to convince us that Heaven is merely the creation of the human mind, we understand that God is real and through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the path to paradise is clear. Heaven is real and it is up to each of us to follow the path to eternal happiness with the ones we love. 

God bless,

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries

Remember

We welcome the month of May because it is an amazing month in so many ways. In our hemisphere, spring is in full bloom and we are witnessing again the miracle of the change of seasons. This is also the month of our Blessed Mother, with the first three weeks in Easter and the latter in Ordinary Time. Liturgical colors inform the faithful and we watch the transformation from white to green, with the former symbolizing the light that has brought joy, purity, and innocence into the world and the latter, the symbol of new life.

May brings renewal and opportunities for families to gather and remember loved ones. We celebrate First Communions and Confirmations, we celebrate moms on Mother’s Day and at the end of the month on Memorial Day, we remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice. It is often on these occasions as we celebrate with the people we love, that we remember those who made the journey with us and who were called ahead of us to their eternal home.  

God has provided each of us with the wonderous opportunity to enjoy our time together, regardless of the amount we are given. Sometimes that life may only last the months in the womb of a mom and in others, a lifetime of experiences that can last a century. In either case, God gifts that life to a mother and a father and asks them to honor the gift He has given. God trusts us to live our lives by loving Him with all our hearts and minds and to love each other as we love ourselves and when this journey draws to a close, His promise of the next journey is there for each of us.

When we remember those whose earthy journey has ended, we must also remember that the new journey has just begun. Death is not the end, but the beginning of a new life, and the path to that life, through Christ, is simply LOVE.

God bless,

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries

Promise

Promise is a word used often in our daily interactions, and many of us rely on it to make very important decisions.  A promise builds trust and allows us to look to one another when we need each other most.  A kept promise means we can move forward knowing that we can rely on a person’s word, and we all know what it means when a promise is not kept. 

Every day we wake up to news that seems to be worse than the day before.  Anxiety about the future can be overwhelming.  It seems that uncertainty is the new normal.  Will we have food on our shelves or fuel to move through our daily lives?  In this uncertainty, so many of us are also faced with the recent death of someone we love and all of us grieve loved ones lost even though it may be decades ago.  How do we move forward when it may seem that everything is falling apart?  Where do we turn when uncertainty becomes overwhelming? 

The promise of paradise was made for us on Calvary through the death of Jesus.  He promised us that in Him is our salvation.  This promise is one we can all rely on and in it we will find our refuge from the uncertainty that surrounds us.  Through His promise, our relationship with our loved ones continues.  When placing your hand on the place where your loved one is interred, allow the promise made by Christ to wash over you.  Allow the joy of His promise to wash away your tears and smile because the path to paradise is there for each of us if we are willing to follow it. 

God bless,

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries

Fatherhood

During the month of March, the Catholic church focuses on the person of St. Joseph, husband of our Blessed Mother and foster father to Jesus.  St. Joseph entered the state of fatherhood when he accepted his role of foster father and took on the responsibility of being there for Jesus.  We find in St. Joseph the true meaning of fatherhood.  We see it in the patience he showed raising Jesus, and in his kindness and understanding.  God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of His son, just as God chooses each of us when He entrusts us with the responsibility of fatherhood.  

The responsibility of fatherhood comes in many forms: paternity, adoption, spiritual and simply being an example to those we connect with in our daily lives.  Fatherhood is a calling to serve those entrusted to our care, to be present, to be an example of God’s love.  It is in the role of father that we feel intense love for the child entrusted to us by God, and this love has no limitation nor condition.  It is because of this intense love that we feel an almost unbearable heartbreak when death severs our earthly relationship. 

When a family experiences death, the emotional burden for the father is overwhelming because of the need to be strong for those left broken by the loss.  A father will feel that he must rise above the pain and become the rock for everyone else.  I am certain that Joseph felt the need to become the rock for Mary and for those suffering the death of Jesus.  In those hours between His death and resurrection, Joseph became the messenger of God’s love.  Fatherhood is a great responsibility, and it comes with God’s unlimited support and the love of Jesus for any man accepting that duty.  A father is the messenger of God’s love and compassion for His children. 

The gift of fatherhood is the responsibility of teaching faith in God and guiding those entrusted to our care to our Heavenly home.  The hour of our separation is not known but God’s gift is the opportunity to be an example of His love and to help guide His children home.  Heartbreak is the natural and human response to death, but the pain is mitigated by the knowledge that we did our best to be an example to our family.  God’s promise to every father is that the separation is temporary, and the path is clear because Jesus, loved by His earthly father, paved the way. 

God bless,

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries

Family

Family is such a unique and all-encompassing word. We use it to refer to immediate and extended family, adopted family and sometimes friends become family.  Ultimately, we are all a part of the human family.  This greater family tends to reinforce the idea that each of us is only separated from everyone on the planet by a mere six degrees and if you live in northeast Ohio, the separation is probably no more than three degrees. 

During this month dedicated to the Holy Family, we are reminded of the sacrifices we make for family and how much our love can bring joy,and in the same way, heartbreak.  Joseph had to decide to be a husband to a wife carrying a son not his own, and to be a father to that son.  Mary found herself unable to keep her son from going off into the world and ultimately watched His life brutally taken from Him.  We often forget that despite the miracles, this family was subjected to unimaginable suffering.  While we honor them as the Holy Family, we should never forget that in their humanity, they were a mom, dad, and son.

It is in this humanity that they are connected to us and suffer with us when tragedy strikes a member of our family.  We turn to the Holy Family because they lived a very human existence and suffered the death of their child. 

Each of us at the Catholic Cemeteries Association look to those we serve as members of our extended family.  Our hearts break when death brings a family to one of our Catholic cemeteries.  We understand that it is our responsibility to guide the family through the quagmire of their suffering and assist them with some difficult decisions.  It is impossible for us not to offer a piece of ourselves to that family and to carry a bit of the burden for them.  It is in this moment that we become family and, in our ministry, offer their suffering to God with the knowledge that Heaven is real, and Christ is the map to the new Eden.

God Bless each of you during this month dedicated to the Holy Family.     

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries