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You Are Going to Die

In the last two years, 20 million have died of cancer, 40 million have died from heart disease, 16 million have died from hunger, there have been more than 1 million murders and 1.6 million suicides. I know, that is kind of depressing, but you need to think about these numbers. Humans spend a lot of time and money trying to avoid death. That is not, necessarily, a bad thing, but it can be. "How can it be bad to avoid death" you may ask? Not everyone who avoids death is doing it for the right reasons; and, not everyone who accepts death is doing so for the wrong reasons.

Death happens; every minute of every day. No, I am not glorifying death. I am saying that it is something that we cannot completely avoid in this life. To take a life, other than for self-defense (including a just war), self-sacrifice (defending others), or a legal execution (which is still morally acceptable, regardless of what some want you to believe), is sinful. To commit suicide is (ordinarily) a gravely sinful act. These truths help us to view death rightly, but we also have to acknowledge that we are commanded (yes, commanded) not to fear death. How else could the martyrs accept their deaths as they did?

Hebrews 2:15 describes the people that Jesus came to deliver as: "those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage". Fearing death subjects us to a "lifelong bondage". It cripples our behaviors and our thinking. It confuses us regarding what really matters, and makes us get off track about what is actually scary in this world. It also entices us into living in an obsessive mania where we are constantly wanting to find ways to extend our life just one more day or minute. We are supposed to think rightly about death (and remember, that there are far worse things that can happen to you than dying).

We moderns make so many decisions based on "what can kill you" rather than on "Who can throw body and soul in Hell" (cf. Matthew 10:28). No, we are not supposed to live carelessly, throwing caution to the wind. Yet, that is true in the spiritual realm even more than in the physical realm of our lives! So, how should we then live? Be wise, not foolish in how you take care of yourself (spiritually and physically). Yet, do not fear death as though it is the worst thing you could ever experience.

Everyone is going to die someday, so accept that and work for what the Church used to call a "happy death". Yes, that really was a thing once. A "happy death" was one where the person dying had reconciled with all those he was estranged from. He was in a state of grace with God. He placed his hope and confidence in the work of Christ, and not himself. He had an expectant joy, realizing that he was soon going to entrust himself fully into the hands of his creator. This is the right perspective on death. This helps us to avoid living obsessively, trying everything possible to avoid the inevitable. Only then, can we live with joy, knowing that it is all in God's hands.


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