Today’s liturgical feast in Christian churches (All Souls Day) is twinned with that of yesterday: All Saints Day. It makes sense really that those we celebrate as saints while they are alive ought to be more vividly in relationship with God in the spiritual realm afforded by their death to this one. The wonderful thing about today’s feast, however, is that we believe we’re all headed to a fuller life and presence of God when we’re finished here. We have evidence from so many people who have had “near death experiences” or other visions of being in God’s presence during their lives on earth that no one should fear death. But we do.
It could be fear of the unknown or resistance to the pain that often accompanies our last moments on earth that causes us concern. Some of us think we have wasted time and wish for more of it to become better people. Whatever the reasons, all evidence is that what awaits us is more amazing than we can imagine. Here’s a snippet of the way Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM reflects on death this morning on the blog.franciscanmedia.org. It offers what may be helpful to our own thoughts or those of someone we may know who struggles with the concept or the reality.
One common misperception is that death is something dreadful that takes life away. Death is neither something or someone that acts upon us. It is, rather, the moment when we transition from our life in earth time into timeless eternity. When we die, we gather all of our life’s moments as we give ourselves to our Creator. It may sound poetic, but in reality it is we who embrace the transitional moment of death — rather than it taking us.
Let us celebrate today those for whom we pray and ask them and God to assure for us the grace of a happy death.