For Catholics, “the art of dying well is also the art of living well.”
Death and eternity are on our minds in these November days, when we remember the faithful departed in prayer. The journey of autumn into Advent also reminds us, each year, of our own passage toward the last things. What is the meaning of death? What happens when we die? How do we understand heaven, hell, and purgatory?
The world around us may turn quickly from these musings as morbid. Even those grieving the recent death of someone close are often advised to “move on” and “stop dwelling on it.” But that is not our Catholic faith. We know – though we sometimes struggle to understand – that death may be an end, but thanks to Jesus Christ, it is not the end.
There is value in facing the final mysteries of death and dying, not just as healing for our grief or preparation for the future, but for living fully and faithfully in the present.
The art of dying well
To help Catholics face the final mysteries, the Augustine Institute has released a first-of-its-kind Catholic program on death and dying. Eternal Rest: The Art of Dying Well is a 4-part series streamed exclusively on FORMED.org. Each 30-minute episode approaches the subject from a Catholic perspective, leading viewers from the origin of death to Jesus Christ’s final victory at the Cross and Resurrection.
Why is a faithful perspective so important? As part of its mission to help Catholics understand, live, and share their faith, the Augustine Institute encourages individuals and families to think about and prepare for death. Dr. Ben Akers and other Augustine Institute professors helped structure the series. Akers explains, “We thought, ‘How can we tell this story of hope and present the catechesis in an effective, beautiful way?’” Through Scripture and Tradition, the Church teaches us to make sense of death in the light of God’s good plan for our salvation.
Beyond catechesis, our questions about the final mysteries are often practical and personal. To complement the film series, the Augustine Institute has created a supplemental website with resources to aid Catholics with practical elements like end-of-life medical care, funerals, legal documents, grief, and similar topics.
EternalRest.org features more than 60 videos of experts answering common questions, from “Are ghosts real?” to “How do I grieve a miscarriage?” and more.
The art of living well
Why talk about death and dying? The art of dying well is also the art of living well. As the Augustine Institute explains:
By understanding who we are and what we are made for, we can order our lives according to God’s design for our true fulfillment. Preparing for our death allows us to live as prudent stewards of the time God gives us, and it grants us the ability to joyfully anticipate eternal life.
The four episodes of Eternal Rest: The Art of Dying Well are now available in English and Spanish exclusively on FORMED.org, the Augustine Institute’s digital streaming platform. Study guides for the series are available for purchase from Catholic Market. These resources offer parishes and individuals an excellent opportunity for small groups such as end-of-life studies or bereavement support programs but are not limited to these ministries. We all need this hopeful message and this joyful anticipation of reunion with those we love, as we pray:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
Watch the trailer for Eternal Rest: The Art of Dying Well below:
This content is brought to you in partnership with the Augustine Institute.