Who Fears Death and Dying
apertæ tibi sunt portæ mortis et ostia tenebrosa vidisti?
Gates of Death been opened unto thee? Or hast thou seen
the Doors of the Shadow of Death?"
It is finished
spoke these words upon the Cross when the will of the Father
had been accomplished, done, fulfilled, consummated.
At the end
of our own journey, we, too, must recognize — even if we do not
see it — as the face of the Father was hidden from Christ – that
it is accomplished.
The hour is
It is the
hour, not of darkness nor desolation, not of dereliction, but of
fulfillment – the Father's will has been fulfilled, accomplished,
in us. We have no more to do. Nothing more to offer.
It is perfection.
At no other time in our existence will be be able to utter, to repeat
these unspeakably beautiful words. Only once. "Consummaten est!"
It is not
an end. It is a consummation; the divine purpose for which you have
been created has finally been fulfilled. Is this cause for sadness?
my child ... it is cause for joy!
is not an ending. It is a perpetual enactment ... of
perfection, of being brought to that perpetually unfolding
state that is the perfection of our being in God —Who is infinite
and inexhaustible, and ever unfolding, in greater glory still, His
being to us, before us, within us! It is ecstatic perfection.
are no ends, only the fulfillment of being, and even this is
not an end – in fact, it is not even a fulfillment, but yet another
act of becoming, of becoming perpetually more
than we were, more than we are.
God, my little
one, has created us in His image. It is everlasting. Beyond this
passing life on earth, He is infinitely, eternally unfolding before
us – revealing ever more, always more, eternally more, of Himself
In our beholding,
participating in, that inexhaustible unfolding of ever deeper, ever
greater, ever more beautiful facets of God's being, we experience
the perpetual unfolding, ever increasing perfection of our own being
that is made, enacted, in that image into which He pours Himself
inexhaustibly ... which is to say, eternally.
Death as an ending?
No ... in the most profound sense it is the end of all ending.
Why, my child, would you fear death?
Do you know something I do not?
Socrates asked this of those who encouraged him to flee from it.
It is, he understood, and we too must understand, the pretense of
knowledge, of knowing what we do not know, of presuming what we
have not experienced; of what no one has experienced
and subsequently revealed to us. Except for One – Jesus
And what does
He say about it?
raise him up!”1
of my Father!”
will be with me in Paradise.”
wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more,
nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for
the former things are passed away.”
“He that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live.”
would you think that — of all the experiences you have
had in your life, so many that are so beautiful — that death will
be like, not the most beautiful, but the worst experience you had
ever had or imagined? Why single out that one terrible
experience — and anticipate that death will be like it
— rather than your many beautiful experiences in life? Out
of the many, many experiences, why ... why this
Do you not see that you fear what you only pretend to know,
presume to be, fear to be – and with no
warrant whatever?! What madness is this?
Put such thoughts from your mind. They have no place there, for
they are not true — which is to say, that they are not real.
It is a snare set by the evil one. Listen not to the father of lies,
but to Jesus, the Author of Life:
Do you not
yet understand that when Jesus cried out on the Cross,
have you forsaken me?”,
it was our abandonment, our desolation,
our fears, our emptiness ... that
He took upon Himself ... nailing it to the Cross through His Most
He took it
away from us and took it upon Himself — why —
why would He have taken it ... just to give it back?
Shall we also pay the penalty for our sins?
We would then
empty His Sacrifice completely. Utterly. He would have died in vain;
died for no reason. Certainly not for you and me ...
Did He not
take upon Himself our illnesses and fears as well
as our sins? Was this not the blood He sweated in the Garden of
Gethsemane? The fear? What would have been yours.
What would have been mine! He
spent the night in the Garden of Gethsemane so that we
would not have to!
You still fear, I see — but, really, I must ask you: Who
is it that will come to greet us in that hour?
Does not our God ever speak to us in terms of the Bridegroom to
the Bride? What, child, ought this suggest to you in the way of
death and dying?
anticipate the moment of death as something akin to that inexpressibly
beautiful moment of conjugal climax? As an ineluctable, final, total
and unutterable culmination of joy, fulfillment so great,
that it sunders soul from body ... and finally attains
to union with the Beloved?
Not Ending ... but
of death is rapturous; it is a making permanent in eternity
what is fleeting on earth, in the body. Total fulfillment! Total
love consummated! An entering into God, a clinging to Him as
lover enters the beloved and clings to her at the moment of consummation,
making himself one with her, indistinguishable from her ....
when the bondage of isolation is burst and our life becomes
one with another's — but ever more profoundly, ever
more beautifully, in God Himself.
I know what you fear — but you fear needlessly. In that hour you
will not feel isolation, aloneness, emptiness, impending
darkness .... oh, no! you will feel the embrace of God in a way
that will make it impossible for your finite body to accompany your
infinite love to Him ... it will be a moment of unutterable ecstasy,
No, no, my little one ... no ... union!
Your life entering His, His life entering
yours — perfectly! He will take you to Himself!
Does the Bridegroom
leave the bride in her chamber alone on the night of the consummating
of their love?! You will not be alone. You will not be afraid.
You will never be alone thereafter, and never know anything of fear
again. What awaits you is far more beautiful than ever you imagined,
than has ever entered your heart.
You will not
spurn His embrace ... you will breathlessly hasten to it!
Boston Catholic Journal
1 St. John 6.40
2 St. Matthew 25.34
3 St. Luke 23.43
4 Apocalypse 21.4
5 St. John 11.25
Totally Faithful to the
Deposit of Faith
entrusted to the Holy See in Rome
opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum
Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum”
know your works ... that you have but little power, and
yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.”
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