Death awaits us all. What does this mean for the way we view our life in the present?
By Deacon Frederick Bartels
17 July 2014
Although the bright light of day gives a false impression that night is far off, it is this moment drawing near. Soon, light will give way to shadow, color wash into grey, and the warmth of the sun will cease as it falls below the horizon and the earth is cast in darkness. In the same way, the sun is already setting upon your earthly life. On looking back, it will seem as if night fell in the blink of an eye. “Where has the day gone?” you will ask.
One of the most fruitful aspects of your life upon which to reflect is death. The goal of your life is to arrive at the horizon of death in a state of grace, with Christ intimately present, filled with the Holy Spirit and immersed in the love of God. That is also the destination for which holy mother Church unceasingly labors on behalf of her children, that they may enter into eternal joy. A good and peaceful death should be, then, the objective of your life because your destiny is to join in eternal communion with God. The divine Other is your origin and destination, whose creative power is responsible for your being and whose superabundant love is the cause of your life.
In a secular world such as ours, it is difficult to give your life over to God. In a place where the word “God,” if spoken with adoration and love, brings silence or looks of discomfort, death easily becomes an unspoken subject shelved in the recesses of the mind, as if this present life were everything. However, the here and now is but a dim shadow of the eternal day. The Beatific Vision, gazing upon God face-to-face, is not merely something to work for but something to die for. It is worth every once of pain and suffering one might experience over a thousand lifetimes.
You were made for God. The veil of death, after having lived for God and died in his love, ushers you beyond the visible horizon of this life into eternal life, where there is no need for lamps or the sun, for the Lord God shall provide the light, and those who have lived for Christ shall reign forever (cf. Rev. 22:5).
Do you long to be with God? Do you desire to sit, as did Mary (Lk 10:41-42), and listen to the voice of Christ? Is your only real thirst a holy, unquenchable thirst for God? Do all your thoughts continually circle back to the heavenly things of the Holy Trinity? Has the love of the Spirit wounded your heart with the burning fire of divine love?
Perhaps death is thought to be farther off than it really is.
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Deacon Frederick Bartels is a member of the Catholic clergy who serves the Church in the diocese of Pueblo. He holds an MA in Theology and Educational Ministry and is a Catholic educator, public speaker, and evangelist who strives to infuse culture with the saving principles of the gospel. For more, visit YouTube, iTunes and Google Play.