THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN DEATH
Death is the end of earthly life. Our lives are measured by time, in the course of which we change, grow old and, as with all living beings on earth, death seems like the normal end of life.
Remembering our mortality helps us realize that we have only a limited time in which to bring our lives to fulfillment.
In death, God calls man to himself. Therefore the Christian can experience a desire for death.
"My desire is to depart and be with Christ". (St. Paul)
"I want to see God and in order to see Him, I must die" (St. Teresa of Avila)
"I am not dying, I am entering life" (St. Therese of Lisieux)
The Christian vision of death receives privileged expression in this prayer of the Church:
"Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven".
It is very commonly accepted that the life of the human person continues in a spiritual fashion after death.
"We know that when this tent we live in our body here on Earth is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home He himself made, which will last forever."(2 Corinthians 5, 1)
"There are many mansions in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you... And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am" (John 14,2-3)
Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage, of the time of Grace and Mercy which God offers man so as to decide his ultimate destiny. No second chance will be given. When the single course of our earthly life is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives... There is no "reincarnation" after death.
"Praised are you, my Lord, for our sister bodily death, from whom no living man can escape. Woe on those who will die in mortal sin" (St. Francis of Assisi)
Fr. Cipriano Bontacchio