Uncle Eddy's E-mail -- June 8
Bishop of Vermandois (northern France)
(entered heaven in 560)
Is it raining there? I haven't seen the sky for I don’t know how long (because I can't see the sky I never know if it is night or day, so I lost count of how long I have been cooped up in this cubicle – 3 years since I got a clock with a calendar, but I don't know how long before then), but I can still picture it in my mind's eye. If it's rainy today, you'll be having forty days of wet weather, but if it's sunny, forty days of sunny weather. So say the farmers of northern France, devotees of Saint Médard, who was protected from the rain by a giant eagle one time, which hovered above him with its wings spread wide – a living umbrella. We'll have to take that story with a grain of salt, but we do know that Médard instituted the popular tradition in his native town of Salency of crowning the most exemplary teenage girl in the region with a garland of roses each spring. They still do this even now on Saint Médard's day. It's a quaint tradition, but there is a lesson in it, I think.
It always makes me think of heaven. Here on earth awards go to the most intelligent, the most beautiful, the most talented, the most athletic, etc. This has always struck me as a bit odd. After all, such qualities are God-given, are they not? The individuals may have developed them (or, for all we know, they may have diminished them!), but basically they were born with them. To praise a beautiful girl or a handsome boy just because they are beautiful or handsome is like praising a fish for swimming so well. The awards ceremonies in heaven will be quite different. There each of us will receive our just rewards – we will receive recompense "according to our deeds." (Revelation 22:12) In other words, God will judge and reward (we hope!) not according to what we have received from him, but according to what use we have done with what we have received from him. He doesn't care how fast we can run a hundred meters, he cares about how quickly and thoroughly we followed our conscience, putting what is true and right ahead of what is comfortable and pleasant. Great kings and rich tycoons who ruled with impunity here on earth may be the humble employees of former shoeshine boys and rag pickers when they get to heaven. As our Lord put it, "many who are first will be last, and the last will be first." (Matthew 19:30)
So whether it's rainy today or sunny, you can count on my prayers not that you will win the Miss Missouri contest, but that you will win the heart of Christ by living in the light of his love.
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