REFLECTION: Death and beyond PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 October 2014 11:50



The month of November begins with the celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints and the Commemoration of All Souls. These are celebrations that remind us of the wonderful reality that our life is not just limited by our earthly space-and-time existence, but has other dimensions that we often take for granted.

We have to be wary of our tendency to get stuck to the here and now, and to be so immersed in the drama and game of our earthly life that we fail to realize there is a lot more beyond what we have here, what we do and say now, what we are at present.

We may create all sorts of problems and chaos in this life, all kinds of ugliness. But, hey, there is hope! Christ has redeemed us with his death! Sin and death have their sting removed. Let us learn to see beauty in all the chaos and ugliness of our present, and attain redemption in our seemingly hopeless predicament.

Let’s remember that Christ’s all-powerful and never-fading work of redemption that culminated on the cross, can take on anything that we say, do or are, whether it is something good or something bad.

What is simply needed at the very least is our openness to the merits of Christ’s redemptive work by not putting obstacles to them or resisting his will and commandments. We may still commit errors, but if done in good faith, there is still hope. Christ will repeat what he said just before he died: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

These celebrations on November 1 and 2 should expand our awareness that we belong to the family of God whose image and likeness we are and whose children we also are. As such, we are not meant to live in time alone, but also in eternity, not here on earth alone, but also in heaven.

We need to be more aware of our duty to seek sanctity in the middle of our earthly concerns. Even more, we need to be skilful in carrying it out. This duty, in so many words, is combining our earthly concerns with our eternal goal.

To be sure, this duty is doable, and not a fantastic job that exists only in our dreams and intentions. God himself guarantees that it be practicable and attainable. It is his will and he has given us all the means to achieve it, including giving himself to us in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in the Church and the many instrumentalities the Church provides us.

There is nothing in our life that cannot be sanctifiable. What matters is that we relate everything to God, whether it is something good, for which we ought to be thankful, or something bad, for which we have to be sorry.

Even our sins, if repented, can be a tremendous trigger for grace to be showered on us. We, of course, should try to avoid sin which is actually a matter of increasing our love for God and for others.

That’s because where there is true love, temptations and sin would find it hard to get into our mind and heart. We therefore have to learn to love with the love of God which is the true source of love. We have to try our best to keep it alive all the time.

But to be realistic, we know that given our human condition, even our best efforts at loving cannot keep us from not sinning. We always fail somewhere along the way, and end up having to say sorry. And so, let’s just be humble enough to make it a habit to make acts of contrition, atonement and reparation.

As to the reality of death, let’s not be afraid of it. Let’s remember that in the beginning, we were not meant to die. Death came as a consequence of sin. But with Christ’s redemptive work, death now becomes a transition to our eternal life with God.

Humanly speaking, it causes grief. But if seen from the point of view of our Christian faith, it is a great moment of joy, since it is our time of deliverance, our entry into true and lasting freedom.

The pains and suffering associated with death, in whatever form they take, are meant for our purification. They are meant to unite us to the redemptive passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

We need to be more aware of this truth of our faith about death, so that we can more actively correspond to its divine, redemptive dynamics.