Aleteia

Pope: We should think about death with one word

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Francis warns against allowing ourselves to live with the illusion that we’re eternal

In this last week of the liturgical year, the Church invites us to reflect on the end of the world, and the end of our lives.

Drawing from Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Luke, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away,” Pope Francis in his morning homily reflected on the reality of death.

All things will come to an end, but God will remain, he said. None of us knows exactly when our end will come, and we tend to put off thinking about it, acting as if we are eternal, but that’s not the case.

All of us have this weakness in life, this vulnerability. Yesterday, I was meditating about this, with a beautiful article that was published in Civiltà Cattolica, which says that what we all have in common in this vulnerability. We are equal in this vulnerability. All of us are vulnerable, and at some moment, this vulnerability will lead us to death. That’s why we go to the doctor — to see how my physical vulnerability is going. Others go to a psychologist, to heal a psychological vulnerability.

Thus, vulnerability unites us, and nothing can protect us from it, the pontiff continued, warning that so many illusions deceive us, such as the illusion of being eternal.

Francis noted how when the Bible takes up the certainty of death, the Lord presents it as the “encounter with him,” and it’s always accompanied by the word “hope.”

The Lord tells us to be prepared for this encounter, the pope encouraged. Death is the encounter with him. He is the one who comes to meet us; he is the one who comes to take our hands, and to bring us with him.

“This is simply the Gospel,” Francis said. “It is simply life. It is simply saying to each other: ‘All of us are vulnerable and all of us have a door at which Our Lord will call one day.'”

The pope emphasized that we have to be well prepared for when the Lord rings the doorbell, for when he knocks on the door. Let us pray for each other, the pope said, that we can open the door with trust and confidence.

All of the things that we’ll have collected, that we’ll have saved — good things — we will take nothing. But we will take the Lord’s embrace. Think about your death. When will I die? It’s not written on the calendar, but the Lord knows. And pray to the Lord. “Lord, prepare my heart to die well, to die in peace, to die with hope.” This is the word that should always accompany our life: the hope of living with the Lord here, and then living with the Lord there. Let us pray for each other, for this intention.