Pay Now, Receive Later

Former Liverpool architect and author of Cancer 4 Me 5

I have made a few adjustments to my second life since I survived cancer. One of them is that I now go to Mass every day. It is my own little mechanism to make sure I never forget where I was.

Today is another day I was not supposed to have.

When you are brought to the very edge of your life you are left with no option but to peer over. That experience has now been extended by continually looking at the world as I grow older. We all appear to be living lives where we have more questions than answers. We live in a world that has oppression and corruption and violence and injustice and famine and disaster all around us. It had all of those things 2,000 years ago. And it will still have them 2,000 years from now.

So much of life just doesn’t seem to make sense. The gap between aspiration and reality often seems to be impossible to bridge.

Just about everybody I know is essentially a good person. We are all different and all have our flaws, but generally, most people are trying to do the right thing. But of all the people that I know, very few, if any, seem to completely attain the life that I believe they deserve. They are subjected to pressure and stress and illness and unemployment and various difficulties and sadness at all stages of their life.

Others are subjected to far worse.

Happiness, for all of us, no matter who we are, only seems to come in very brief snatches.

Of all the people that I know, very few, if any, seem to completely attain the life that I believe they deserve.


And now we all have to deal with Covid-19.

When the answers we all seek are not to be found here, it is not difficult to begin to believe there has to be something greater. Those answers must exist somewhere.

If man can’t come up with them, then only God is left.

And my particular version of God is Catholicism.

So as I look at the world around me, it is not difficult to go to Mass every day.

I am not a great reader these days and one thing I like about Mass is it has my attention for a passage from the same book to be read to me every day. Often it is the more general, rather than the specifically spiritual, lines that have the most impact.

If I am to boast, let me boast about my feebleness” is a particular favorite.

What a wonderful contradiction.  Blows me away every time.

Last week the knockout line was “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. And to God what belongs to God

We seem to spend most of our lives giving to Caesar. We commute to our jobs. We do our work. We raise our kids. We pay our taxes. We look after our parents. We help our neighbors. We fight for our country. We try to live good lives.

I live my life now in the knowledge that the payments will be made to Caesar, but with the hope that the rewards will come from God.

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