|More than 2000 people died in the 1989|
Johnstown flood. How many were ready?
That came home in a big way to me recently when we visited Johnstown, PA, the site of the 1889 flood, the worst disaster the country ever experienced up to that time. When the earthen dam fourteen miles above Johnstone broke, tons of water gushed down the river gaining speed and debris and slammed into homes and factories in the town demolishing them in an instant.
Earlier in the day the people had been celebrating Memorial Day with a parade and festivities. They had no idea that many were enjoying their last day on earth - that the storm that began that afternoon marked death and disaster for over 2,000 men, women, and children.
None of us knows the year, day, or minute of our death, but we know with certainty that it will come. Death is certain, but the hour of death is uncertain. What if it's today? Or tomorrow? Are you ready? Am I?
The most important journey we will ever take is the one when our souls depart from our bodies to attend the particular judgment, when we will meet the Lord and see our life spread before us. We will know both the good and bad with a clarity we probably have never experienced before. What will we hear the Lord say? "Welcome, good and faithful servant" or "Depart from me...I don't know you"?
I pray every day for the grace of final perseverance. Today was First Friday. One of the promises associated with devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and making the nine First Fridays is to die with the Sacraments. I long for that. I want the consolation of Jesus in the final moments of my life. I don't want to be caught unprepared. How many of those poor souls who died in the Johnstown flood were unprepared to meet the Lord? I was praying for them as we watched the movie at the National Flood Museum. Since God is not limited by time I hope those prayers gave the grace of repentance to those who needed it.
Tomorrow is First Saturday, another opportunity to console the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Let's act like the wise virgins carrying the oil of prayer and devotion so that we will be welcomed into the wedding feast on the last day rather than finding ourselves on the wrong side of a locked door like the foolish virgins.