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The Gift of life

The gift of life is precious. We have heard that so often. We know however, that life has it's many challenges and sufferings. We have faced many things throughout our lives and come through the other end. We carry some of those challenges constantly which are never easy.

Some of us have been present with loved ones facing their final hours, reassuring them, praying for them, holding their hand. I was with my Dad when he died and consider it one of the most privileged moments of my life. It was difficult to see him struggle towards the end to breath. As I held his hand, I said to him, 'God bless you, Dad, and he said to me 'God bless you too....they were his final words. I was so fortunate to receive his blessing and as his son to comfort him as he passed from this life. As the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us 'there is a time to be born and a time to die'. It is all part of the natural flow of things and I was there with my Dad at the last. My Dad had had a long life and it was his time. I know some people can die very young and under tragic circumstances. We are fragile human beings. 'There is a time to mourn' and for some of us that takes a very long time.

For those of us who believe that God is the author of life and view the natural cycle of life and death as being profoundly human, today is a difficult and painful day to face. 'The End of Life' Euthanasia legislation comes into effect within this country. I don't have to remind you what that

means. Some have said that giving people this right is the compassionate response but is it really?

Is not the compassionate response to stand alongside our loved ones in their hour of need until the time comes. To stand alongside them just as Mary, the Mother of Jesus did, with John, with Mary Magdalen and the other women at the foot of the cross of Jesus. We are called to stand at the foot of the cross of our dying loved ones and comfort them and each other in their time of trial.

Lord help us to be courageous, compassionate and present in the face of death and dying. Help us to remember that our lives are in your hands.

During this month of November may we continue to remember and pray for our beloved dead.

Listen to 'Song for Dad' track 11 from 'There is no distance'

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