Fr Stefan reflects on reading of the day July 29 ‘Meaning of Christian Death’

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.” (John 11:19-27)

Death is the moment of truth. At death I encounter the truth about myself. We face the Truth. Jesus is the Truth. It is said that we die as we live. This means that our death sums up our entire life. If we have tired to live for God than we go into the arms of God. If we have lived for the values of this world we will go kicking and screaming into eternity.

I remember reading a book about the Italian mafia. The book said that when the mafia sent out a hit man to kill someone. The mafia first made sure that the person to be killed sinned with a prostitute than they killed him. The mafia wanted to me sure that the person not only died but died right after committing a serious sin.

St Theresa of Avila said at her death bed, “I want to see God and, in order to see him, I must die.” St Therese of Lisieux said, “I am not dying; I am entering life.”
Jesus took the curse away from death. That is why when Jesus raised someone from the death he would often say, “She is not dead she is asleep.” When we die in the Lord we fall asleep and Jesus gently wakes us up in Heaven.

The catechism says, “The Church encourages us to prepare ourselves for the hour of death. In the ancient litany of the saints, for instance, she has us pray: ‘from a sudden and unforeseen death, deliver us, O Lord’, to ask the Mother of God to intercede for us ‘at the hour of our death’ in the Hail Mary; and to entrust ourselves to St Joseph, the patron of a happy death. (1014)

The Imitation of Christ says, “Every action of your, every though, should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out. Death would have no great terror for you if you had a quiet conscience…Than why not keep clear of sin instead of running away from death? If you aren’t fit to face death today, it is very unlikely you will be tomorrow”

Thought for the day. You might think I don’t run away from death. Is that true? Do we not pretend that death will never come? We often put the aged in nursing homes so that we don’t have to be bothered with them. People who are 70 want to look 30. And in medicine we often keep people alive using extraordinary methods far beyond when they should have died. Why is that? One reason I believe is our fear of death.

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